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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Mitt Romney and the U.S. coal industry are engaged in a very public love affair. In August, the Republican candidate stood on a stage in Ohio and condemned Barack Obama's 'war on coal,' backed by a group of beefy, safety-helmeted men who looked like they just stomped out of a coal mine. Those miners later appeared in one of Romney's two September ads focused on coal, the 'way of life' that, in his telling, Obama is ruthlessly attempting to crush. 'By the way,' Romney said in his first debate with Obama, lest America miss the point, 'I like coal!' That was Oct. 3. On Oct. 4, coal stocks soared. On Friday, Romney was in Abingdon, Virginia, holding a 'Coal Country' rally, proclaiming, 'I don't believe in putting our coal under the ground forever.' (Was that one of Obama's shovel-ready projects?) If it feels like he's trying too hard, it's probably because Romney is not a natural fit for the industry's affections. When he was governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed a climate change plan, supported clean-energy startups, and famously went after a coal plant that was shirking pollution controls, saying, 'I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people. And that plant kills people.' (In one of its most cynical maneuvers, the Obama campaign has run ads attacking Romney for making this eminently defensible point.) Now, however, Romney needs coal's love, and badly. Coal jobs and cheap coal electricity are important to several of the swing states upon which the election hinges, most especially Ohio, which may single-handedly decide the race. It's not enough for coal fans to be upset with Obama; Romney needs them actively working on his behalf." (ForeignPolicy)

"Juli Weiner: Going into tonight I was concerned that Obama was going to cross the line from 'appropriately aggressive opponent' to 'unlikeable bully' but he really did not. He was the alpha-male, but not in a bro-y way. He was confident, but not arrogant. And he treated Mitt Romney like an unserious New England governor and perennial losing presidential candidate, but not in, like, a mean way. Bruce: Yes, exactly. I think alpha male is exactly it. One of the alpha-iest moments was when Obama talked about the diplomats and said essentially those are my people, I send them into harm’s way. It was great jiujitsu because it was a topic he’s vulnerable on but he turned it into a dude-I’m-the-fucking-president moment. Running the Salt Lake City Olympics, even without a deficit, doesn’t quite measure up on the cojones scale. Juli: Anytime Obama implicitly pointed out how presidential he is, Romney seemed more like a guy trying to sell you a really expensive knife on late-night television. Which, to be fair, was definitely exacerbated (on both their parts) by their meandering around the stage like circusmen. Bruce: Obama's body language was much better. A couple of times Romney started to get close to invading his personal space, it was almost Gore-esque. It had a stench of 'coaching' about it. Juli: Which makes sense! Romney’s recent Friday Night Lights quoting suggests he did just look up 'coaching' in his Romney-to-human dictionary." (VanityFair)


"'Thirty years ago, the Anglo-American capitalist system was the apartment block everyone in the world admired,' Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild told a gathering of business and political influentials gathered on the 28th floor of Bloomberg LP’s Lexington Avenue office tower on Thursday morning. 'Now, that apartment block has really nice apartments up on top. In the middle, they’re kind of cramped and dowdy, and on the lower floors, they’re underwater. But the worst part of it is—the elevator’s broken.' ... The initiative, which grew out of the Henry Jackson Society, a right-leaning British foreign policy think tank named after the Cold War-era American senator, has some recommendations: corporations should invest in training workers for the jobs they’ll need filled in the future, nurture small- and medium-size businesses, and take a long-term view of creating value for shareholders. But those ideas seemed less important than bringing business leaders together to address a more central concern: In an era of rising income inequality and grim economic outlook, people seemed to be losing confidence in capitalism altogether ... Later, Ms. de Rothschild was sitting in the perfumed living room of her duplex in the River House, an East Side co-op of such refined reputation that management has long discouraged brokers from the naming the building in advertisements. In another era, the co-op was famous for turning down Diane Keaton and Gloria Vanderbilt over the company they kept. Blackstone co-founder Peter Peterson and former Salomon Brothers chief John Gutfreund have moved, but Ms. de Rothschild’s friend Henry Kissinger still lives downstairs." (Observer)

"For starters, the Libya exchange has rendered next Monday’s foreign-affairs debate superfluous. The trumped-up Benghazi scandal was the only card Romney had to play against Obama’s national security record. And now it is dead and buried. Once Obama called him out for his 'offensive' exploitation of the tragedy, Romney lost his confidence and never regained it for the rest of the debate. Crowley’s in-real-time fact-check was also impressive — especially in an era when, embarrassingly, fact-checking is no longer an automatic given in journalism but has been split off as a gimmicky addendum. It was also fun to watch Obama encourage Mitt to hang himself on his factual fiasco: That 'Please proceed, governor' was priceless. What’s hilarious in the aftermath of Mitt’s mishap is the right’s attempt to defend the error by arguing that Obama had not been talking about 'terrorism' when he referred to 'acts of terror' in his Rose Garden remarks the day after the Benghazi killings. Does mean that George W. Bush was not fighting terrorism when he declared a 'war on terror'?" (FrankRich)


"The 107-year-old Variety publications have been sold to the Internet-based Penske Media Corporation. Weekly Variety, daily Variety, and Variety Broadway are all falling into the maw of the owner of Nikki Finke‘s Deadline.com. They were sold for $25 million, down from the asking price of $40 million. Hard-copy periodicals have been hemorrhaging readers and revenue over the past decade. Variety‘s attempt to go digital has also gone south, primarily because of its pay-per-view policy. Ever since 1905, when vaudeville reviewer Sime Silverman founded it to offer 'honest' news on America’s then-favorite entertainment, the Variety family of publications has been an entertainment-industry mainstay. One of my earliest memories is watching Jimmy Cagney as an aged George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy translating the enigmatic Variety headline 'STICKS NIX HICK PIX' to a group of young people. This unique lingo has always been one of its hallmarks, introducing Americans to such terms as 'payola,' 'boffo,' and 'striptease'; studio execs were called 'toppers,' Western films 'oaters' and 'hoofers,' and so on. Having similar roots to the wisecracking New York lowlife dialect that Damon Runyon made famous, it gave readers the illusion of being part of some sort of in-group. But merely being an institution is not enough to survive. Fueled by the Internet, people want their information far faster than print media can produce it, and they want it for free. Variety’s great rival, The Hollywood Reporter, realized this in 2010 when it gave up being a daily trade paper and morphed into what it is—a weekly glossy magazine, daily PDFs, and a constantly updated online news site." (Takimag)

"Last Sunday afternoon the non-profit Dutchess Land Conservancy (DLC) held its annual fall luncheon fundraiser in upstate Stanfordville, NY. Co-chairs Kathleen Augustine, Helen Blodgett and Gloria Callen welcomed four hundred guests to Helen's beautiful Rocky Reef Farm. This year the luncheon honored retiring board members Everett Cook and Marta Nottebohm for their longstanding service and dedication to land conservation.  Guests were treated to a delicious lunch, hayrides for the children, and a spectacular 'birds of prey' demonstration by falconer Jennifer Pena of Flight of the Raptor. The luncheon also featured a fabulous silent auction chaired by Jodi Dady." (NYSocialDiary)

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