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Monday, October 01, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Of the fifty states, twenty-three are generally regarded as sound Republican bets at the Presidential level and sixteen as safe Democratic bets. The safe (or safeish) G.O.P. states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Together they account for a hundred and ninety-one votes in the electoral college. The safe (or safeish) Democratic states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington—plus the District of Columbia. Together they account for two hundred and one electoral votes. Looking at the latest survey data, it is hard to see any of these states going against type. Some polls show Arizona and Missouri closer than Romney would like, but he is still ahead. In New Mexico, Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate and former governor, appears to picking up some Democratic support, but Obama is still leading Romney comfortably. G.O.P. hopes that they might mount an effective challenge in Minnesota and Oregon are receding. So I’m sticking with the conventional wisdom and ruling out any shocks in either party’s core areas. That leaves eleven so-called battleground states, where the two campaigns are spending most of their money: Colorado (9 votes in the electoral college), Florida (29), Iowa (6) Michigan (16), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (20), Virginia (13), and Wisconsin (10). If you want to play the role of political strategist, the game is go through the various permutations and see if you can come up with another seventy-nine votes for Romney or sixty-nine votes for Obama." (NewYorker)


"It's a tough, competitive life for men in China these days, in part due to the aftershocks of the one-child policy, which has left the country with a gaping gender imbalance of 120 boys for every 100 girls. Author Mara Hvistendahl reports in her book, Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, that by late 2020, 15 percent (or roughly one in six) Chinese men of marriageable age will be unable to find a bride. She predicts that China will see an increase in what's already happening in Taiwan and South Korea, where men doomed to bachelorhood as a result of gender imbalance are boarding planes to Vietnam. Roughly $10,000 covers their flight, room and board, and the price of a Vietnamese wife, according to Hvistendahl, and this practice has become so common that the imported wives 'get a booklet translated into Vietnamese explaining their rights when they get married at the Taiwanese Consulate.'" (ForeignPolicy)



"Nate Silver, who’s been among the nation’s most influential political forecasters since he correctly predicted the winner of the 2008 presidential election in 49 of the 50 states, met me for lunch at Brasserie, the popular bistro in Midtown Manhattan. 'Sir, would you like anything to drink?' our waiter asked. 'Can I have, like, a double espresso, please? he replied. Though we were meeting well before the election on November 6, the 34-year-old Mr. Silver, a modest, charming geek, was already under the gun. By the time Election Eve rolls around, his sensationally oracular blog, FiveThirtyEight­ (which is published by The New York Times), will have received about three million hits ... A math whiz raised in East Lansing, Michigan, Mr. Silver, the son of a political scientist, first made his name by re-inventing baseball predictions in the post-Moneyball era. Political forecasts are harder, he says; sex is easier. In one of his lighthearted factoid blogs, he figured out that singles are statistically most likely to get laid on Wednesday nights. But, to serious business! Who is he forecasting as the winner of the 2012 presidential election? 'Right now we have Obama as a two-to-one favorite. If Romney can’t pull into the lead after the Tampa convention, then we think Obama will win by about two points, like Bush in 2004.' 'How does that translate into electoral votes?' 'You need 270 electoral votes to put you over the top. If nothing changes between now and November, we have Obama winning with about 295 electoral votes. In other words, the model basically has him ahead by a state or two.' 'That’s extremely narrow.' 'Right. But it’s probably the single most likely outcome. It’s not a large deficit for Romney to overcome. But getting those two extra points isn’t going to be easy for him. Ever since he became the nominee, he’s been trying to move more voters to his column—and it hasn’t happened so far.' 'So for Romney the narrow deficit is huge?' 'It’s huge. But it’s certainly possible for him to come back. Our best guess is that the odds of it happening are a one-in-three chance. You wouldn’t want to fly on a plane that has a one-in-three chance of crashing. But, you know, one-in-three chances happen all the time.'" (VanityFair)


"October, the month of political surprises, has arrived. From Henry Kissinger's 1972 'peace is at hand' declaration to Mark Foley's 2006 sex scandal to the Wall Street bailout of 2008, U.S. elections have a long and colorful history of late-breaking stories with the potential to influence outcomes. There's no way to anticipate such an event, of course – otherwise it wouldn't be a surprise – but with President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney still locked in a tight race with just 36 days remaining before the election, the possibility remains that an unforeseen jaw-dropper could jolt the figures and sway the contest. Romney, who lost ground in the polls throughout the month of September, has the most to gain from such an event. Indeed, an Associated Press poll released this weekend found that Obama would be the victor if the election were held today – a clear enough indication that something's got to give this month if Romney hopes to win the White House. Some Republicans are hoping that the coming debates will provide something like an October-surprise moment by allowing Romney to communicate directly to millions of voters about his vision for the country – a message even his campaign concedes has been muddied by a series of gaffes and distractions." (TheHill)


"Howard (Stern) started the show talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger being a raving maniac. Howard said he was on 60 Minutes. He said he was sad when it was over because he couldn't wait. Robin said they were going to play more of it on CBS This Morning. Howard said he was fascinated by all of the stuff he had to say. Howard said he was trying to repair his image but then he was talking about how he loves his Maria (Shriver) and his kids and he was smiling the whole time. Howard said this makes him think that Tiger Woods should run for office. Howard asked Robin if she thinks he's a sociopath. Robin said he's a narcissist. Robin said that Sociopaths don't care about anything. Fred said he thinks that he could be called a sociopath. Robin said they don't have any rules though. Howard said he might be a narciosociopath or something. Robin said she wondered how Maria could live with him for 5 minutes." (Marksfriggin)


"Also last thursday night, BAM 30th Next Wave Gala marked the 30th Anniversary of the BAM Next Wave Festival and the 40th Anniversary of Garth Fagan Dance. The evening began with a cocktail party in the Lepercq Space of the Peter Jay Sharp Building, hosted by Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, his sister Irina Prokhorova, and the Mikhail Prokhorov Fund, where BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins announced a new artistic partnership between BAM and the Mikhail Prokhorov Fund—TransCultural Express: American and Russian Arts Today—which will bring contemporary Russian artists to BAM and American artists to Russia. Following the announcement, guests proceeded to the world premiere performance of Lighthouse/Lightning Rod from choreographer Garth Fagan, featuring music by Wynton Marsalis and the Wynton Marsalis Septet, and excerpts from Fagan’s Griot New York." (NYSocialDiary)





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