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Saturday, September 08, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Hillary Clinton has not missed a Democratic convention since 1968 and her conspicuous absence this year left some Democrats wondering who would fill her shoes if she skips a presidential run in 2016. If Clinton retires from public service, Democrats say Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) are considered potential successors. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democratic congresswoman from Florida, and Kamala Harris, California’s attorney general, who addressed the convention, also receive mentions. But there is no obvious front-runner to become the first female Democratic nominee for president in the foreseeable future. 'It’s hard to predict right now. There are women who are outstanding members of the Senate, outstanding members of the House. Clearly Elizabeth Warren if she’s elected to the Senate is someone who will have nationwide notoriety,' said former Rep. Martin Frost (D-Texas), a one-time member of the House Democratic leadership. University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato describes the Democratic Party as the “mommy party” and the GOP as the 'daddy party.' More women than men have identified themselves as Democrats since at least 1983, according to the Center for the American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. In 2008, 56 percent of female voters backed Barack Obama for the presidency. Some Democrats are impatient for a woman to occupy the Oval Office. 'I would like to see a woman president, absolutely, and as soon as possible,' said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).  Aside from Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) four-year reign as House Speaker, Clinton has been the most prominent female leader of the Democratic Party for the past 20 years." (TheHill)


"Sir Tim Berners-Lee is an intimidating interviewee ... Nobody pays much attention as we stride across campus from his office, where multicoloured scribbling decorates a white board and one wall. The professor of engineering seems anxious to get started on lunch. As he marches towards the food trucks that have become MIT institutions, he talks in a staccato rush, as if his mouth is struggling to keep up with his mind. The academic year has yet to begin and the campus is quiet, orderly and sunny. We go through another building and out to a side street where four trucks are lined up. Berners-Lee steers me to the one with the longest queue, where the Clover Food Lab offers pitas filled with organic ingredients. It is a hot day and we both order iced tea and cups of gazpacho. I opt for a chickpea fritter sandwich, while he picks the egg and eggplant (aubergine) pita. One of the Clover team is taking payments on his iPhone, using one of the Square credit card readers developed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. The truck has a website, Berners-Lee tells me, which I find out later advises that his pita takes 5.8 minutes to prepare. He hovers impatiently, inquiring several times after our order’s progress. He tucks a straw into his shirt pocket, alongside two pens and a pair of spectacles ... As we start on our gazpacho, which is thick and sharp with vinegar, I ask about his latest project. The World Wide Web Foundation, which he founded in 2009 to harness the web’s social and democratic power and to promote web access as a human right, has produced its first assessment of the technology’s global impact. The Web Index ranks infrastructure, content and the web’s political, economic and social impact in 61 countries. Sweden, the US and the UK top the list; Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe and Yemen are at the bottom. Berners-Lee did some of the fieldwork himself, travelling to Uganda to visit ministers, internet cafés and hospitals. The goal, he says, was to go beyond past studies of connectivity and ask for the first time: 'Is the web serving humanity?'" (FT)


"DINNER was at 8 or 8:30 or 9 or 9:30 or 10 or, well, you never know just when you are going to get fed a cracker anymore, now that New York has turned into Madrid. And so people were doing what New Yorkers prefer anyway, and that is to eat the air. At an Hermès dinner party on Tuesday, a pre-New York Fashion Week gathering held in a Park Avenue church basement, the painter Anh Duong was explaining that, yes, she had been a guest on Barry Diller’s and Diane von Furstenberg’s super-yacht, Eos, this summer when it caught fire in Oslo, and that, no, her dress was certainly not a vintage one because, after 40, it does a woman no favors to be seen in old clothes. 'That’s double-vintage,' Ms. Duong said. And Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer, the Estée Lauder heiress and September Town & Country cover subject, was checking BlackBerry texts from her sixth grader, who so hated to end his summer on Georgica Pond in East Hampton, N.Y., last week and return to school that in his little suitcase he packed all of his swim trunks. And here already on the first day of class, he was doing a bit of 11-year-old life math. 'Look,' Ms. Lauder Zinterhofer said. 'He just texted me saying that, if he did all his homework, could he have a new phone and a hamster.'  And Barbara Winston, the wife of Bruce Winston, a Harry Winston scion, fingered the double strand of 18-millimeter gray pearls she was wearing — whoppers the size of Aggie marbles." (NYTimes)


"Friday, September 7, 2012. Yesterday warm and very humid. I spent the day at my desk. Today is the birthday of Daisy Soros. If you don’t know who (whom) I’m talking about, she’s the woman who with her husband Paul, has brought New York the Summer Swing dances every summer in the Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center for the last 17 years. So we can thank her for her birthday. Happy Birthday Daisy. And while we’re on the subject, it’s also the birthday of Joy Ingham who doesn’t supply any summer dances (or any other dances) anytime anywhere as far as we know. Although she’s the one who first got me interested in City Harvest about twenty years ago. She’s been pushing that this long, and now as you may know she (and her comrades) has (have) been pushing City Harvest into the big time. They're delivering more food to more New Yorkers in need, then ever before. And there are more in need then ever before, many more. City Harvest; a little check will do wonders for your spirits as well as the tummies of some little ones somewhere out there.You may have seen Joy’s picture here on these pages, including pictures of her when she was Joy Briggs. That was then and this is then too, if you catch my drift. But she’s a Virgo like Daisy (obviously) and they both share many characteristics that make them quite their own persons as well as very loveable. Oh, you can have little arguments with them too. They’ll let you on it if you should need to know. And they actually live just six blocks from each other overlooking Central Park. And they both go to Nantucket every year. Do they see much of each other? Probably not. Virgos you know, with Sons Rising and Daughters on the Moon; they like variety." (NYSocialDiary)


"Caitlin Burke, fashion editor for Hearst Magazines International, says it's a sign of both Olivia (Palermo's)  savvy and the public's growing fascination with street style. 'When  she used to walk into a room, there would be a few people taking photographs,'she says. "Now there's just a swarm of people. That's partially her star rising, but it's also just the street-style evolution in general. I think her visibility has increased.' After some false starts, Olivia seems to be zeroing in on what works for her (her website, modeling) and what doesn't (reality TV). In other words, avenues that allow her to get dressed, show up and smile without having to say much. At least out loud. 'I think from the beginning of my career…being in television…that was completely-it was just ridiculous, it was not me at all," Olivia says. 'Now I think obviously people are getting to have a more personal relationship with the website and anything else that I do. So you can see my message.' That message, she says, is to give followers a more well-rounded view of Olivia as a brand." (PageSix Magazine)


"Calvin Klein isn’t feeling too lonely after splitting with his troubled boy-toy lover, Nick Gruber. Spies said the designer was 'swarmed by young male models hoping to be his next boyfriend,' at the Top of the Standard on Wednesday night. The source added, 'They were throwing themselves at him, but Calvin didn’t seem at all fazed. He was hanging out with Donna Karan, who seemed to find it all very amusing.' Klein and Gruber split earlier this year." (PageSix)



"In a significant number of cases, however, the informant simply becomes the undercover operative, sometimes for months or years at a stretch. The practice has endured for decades, though details have only become available to the public in recent years. In one of the earliest known examples, an FBI informant covering the Black Panthers helped arm the group prior to its violent conflicts with Oakland, California, police in the 1960s, according to a new book and accompanying story by the Center for Investigative Reporting. The informant, Richard Masato Aoki, was recruited by the FBI when he graduated from high school. Although he had brushes with the law as a troubled youth, he did not become involved in left-wing politics until an FBI agent recruited him to penetrate California communist circles. Aoki did that and more, rising to become a legendary radical activist even as he regularly met with FBI handlers. When the Black Panthers formed, Aoki was there, providing both guns and training on how to use them.Aoki was not the only member of an extremist group to become prominent under the FBI's tutelage. During the 1990s, an FBI informant named Vince Reedrose to a top leadership position in the white-supremacist Aryan Nations organization. Reed had always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, but an injury disqualified him from working on the street, according to his former FBI handlers. Instead, Reed became a professional informant, monitoring the Hells Angels for the FBI after being recruited into the gang in prison.When that assignment ended, he infiltrated the Aryan Nations, a group with which he had no prior affiliation (a swastika tattoo left over from his biker days helped). The FBI invested considerable resources, including multiple undercover operations, in support of his efforts, and Reed served for years before testifying against some of the group's members in 1996.Such cases are not representative of the vast majority of informants, a label that can be applied to almost anyone who provides information on an investigation. The overwhelming majority of informants fall into noncontroversial categories. Some are paid for information; others receive leniency regarding their own criminal behavior. Many informants are simply good people who happen to live next door to bad people." (Foreignpolicy)

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