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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Monday night's presidential foreign policy debate probably won't change the opinion of many voters. Proponents of President Barack Obama are still convinced that Mitt Romney is a fool and a liar. Proponents of former Gov. Romney have the same view of the president. Of course, this is normal in any American presidential race. Along with the eternal conviction that the party in power is destroying the country, we have regarded Abraham Lincoln, during the 1860 election, as a simple-minded country bumpkin with a touch of larceny; Franklin Roosevelt as a rich dilettante and socialist; and Dwight Eisenhower as a bumbling fool who is lazy and incapable of understanding the complexity of the world -- this about the man who, during World War II, led the most complex military coalition on the planet to victory. We like to think that our politics have never been less civil than they are today. Given that Andrew Jackson's wife was accused of being a prostitute, Grover Cleveland was said to have illegitimate children and Lyndon Johnson faced the chant 'Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?' I will assert that the Obama-Romney campaign doesn't even register on the vilification scale. The founders wouldn't have minded this culture of contempt for politicians. In founding the republic, their fundamental fear was that the power of the state would usurp the freedoms of the states and individuals. They purposefully created a political regime so complex that it is, in its normal state, immobilized. They would not have objected if professional politicians were also held in contempt as an additional protection. Ironically, while the founders opposed both political parties and professional politicians, preferring to imagine that learned men take time from their daily lives to make the sacrifice of service, many became full-time politicians and vilified one another." (Stratfor)


"In May and then again two weeks ago, I met in the Obama Chicago campaign headquarters with senior officials from the President’s re-election for wide-ranging discussions of the state of the race. On both occasions, I was struck by the expression of near certainty that their candidate would be re-elected. On Tuesday, I was back meeting with many of the same top advisers and found a virtually identical level of definitive sureness about the outcome. As always, the Chicago group acknowledges the race will be close, but claim the president’s October stumbles and skids have not changed their fundamental, positive view. This confidence flouts the shifts in national and battleground polls that have occurred since the first presidential debate in Denver shook up the race, bringing to an apparent halt what many had seen as Obama’s inexorable march to re-election. The Obamans still insist they hold, to use their phrase, a small but stable and significant lead and express no doubt they will win. In both my background interviews and a separate on-the-record media briefing from Obama campaign manager Jim Messina and strategist David Axelrod earlier in the day, Obama officials laid out the reasons for their sustained confidence. Chicago is keying off of a daisy-chain of educated assumptions and analysis of existing data to inform their view of the race: the demographic groups that disproportionately back the President will make up a sufficient contribution to the total vote to provide the margin of victory; both new registrants and the early votes now banked are coming disproportionately from those same groups, many of whom are low propensity voters who might not otherwise cast ballots in traditional patterns; the make up of the small remaining undecided bloc is not starkly adverse to the incumbent; and five of the nine battleground states are near-locks for the President, enough to make it impossible for Romney to reach 270 electoral votes." (Mark Halpern)


"In that moment, Obama threw his momentum and his strategy in the trash and, in my view, has been flailing around ever since. He was meep meeped. Romney drew him in with the severe Screen shot 2012-10-23 at 6.39.25 PMconservative posture of the primaries, then etch-a-sketched as Moderate Mitt in the first debate so shamelessly, the entire campaign narrative was altered. And it was altered in Romney's structural favor. Yes, it's amazing that a human being can have so few scruples, such an effortless ease with lying, and literally junk his entire program overnight with nary even an explanation. It's amazing still that polarization in this country would allow evangelicals and Tea Partiers not to start worrying about this chameleon. But this is Romney. He aims to please. He markets 'himself' as a product to different demographics. And marketing works, if you are prepared to turn yourself into a soulless, content-free, power-seeking robot. In other words, Obama has allowed Romney to represent change in a country where the wrong track number is still 54 percent (see above), and the right track number is 40. In that climate, 'change' always beats 'more of the same'. Right now, Romney is 'change' and Obama is 'more of the same.' Advantage: Romney." (Andrew Sullivan)


"In an effort to catalog the underappreciated diversity of style in gentrified Williamsburg, a team of Brooklyn technologists has set up a camera outside their apartment that records the street stylings of passersby and posts the images online. But if passersbys don’t want to be recorded, they’re kind of out of luck. The site, called Styleblaster, aims to 'become a destination for New York City peacocks to traipse by and show off what makes the neighborhood hop.' Using a camera perched a block from the Bedford Ave. L train, the site captures and immediately uploads images of Brooklynites walking by in real time. Users can then click a tophat to signal whether or not the subject is 'stylin’. Click once through Styleblaster and you land on a picture of a moody girl with dark, blunt bangs trudging down the block in heavy black boots; click again and it’s a mom pushing a baby stroller; again, and it’s a dude with his hand down his pants. Styleblaster is a personal project of Jules Laplace, the technology director for OkFocus, the creative agency behind the Kanye West/Donda Media PR stunt. The team created WhoDat.biz, a domain lookup site that purported to be the first startup of rapper Kanye West but was eventually revealed to be a big hoax." (Observer)


"Up at the University Club Fred Krehbiel, Aileesh Carew and Kate and Robert Bartlett hosted a reception for Ballyfin Demense, the historic Regency house in Ballyfin, Ireland which is now a luxury hotel. I met Mr. Krehbiel several years ago on one of the American Friends of Versailles junkets. He is a passionate supporter of historic restoration and Ballyfin is a special prize. You can look it up in Relais & Chateau. I wasn’t there last night so I don’t know who was or what went on. In the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf they were holding the 2012 Alzheimer’s Association Rita Hayworth Gala with Robin Meltzer, Gala Chair. It was my first stop last night, arriving for the cocktail hour. They get a big crowd every year and many enthusiastic returners." (NYSocialDiary)


"The social network's stock is way up today — more than 20 percent as of midday — putting Facebook on track to have its best ever day as a public company. The nominal reason for the gains is that yesterday's earnings report was better than analysts had expected, with a small loss attributable to all those stock options employees cashed in when their lock-ups ended. But the gains are really about one thing: mobile advertising. Facebook made $153 million from selling advertisements for its mobile apps last quarter, a figure that represents 14 percent of all its advertising revenue. And while those ads will clog your timeline, they represent a sign that Facebook is coming close to solving its biggest problem. Why is mobile advertising so important for Facebook? Because it's a no-brainer. Facebook has more mobile users than any other social network by a huge multiple (604 million at last count), but has been slow in advertising to those users." (NYMag)


"Naomi Campbell is throwing a lavish Indian 50th birthday party in Jaipur, Rajasthan, for her billionaire boyfriend Vladimir Doronin early next month, Page Six has exclusively learned. The four-day celebration, to be held at various locations including a historic palace, will start on Nov. 4, and Campbell has invited friends from around the world, including many from London, Moscow and New York. A source tells us, “Naomi is flying a lot of people out to India and paying for everything.” The supermodel has sent out e-mail invitations bearing a picture of Vlad underwater James Bond-style with a Seabob, a hand-held propulsion device. His birthday is on Nov. 7. Campbell is believed to have booked a luxury five-star resort for the celebrations and is being helped to organize the festivities by Paris-based travel expert Omar Cherif, who owns OC Travel. Another source told us, 'No expense has been spared. Naomi’s team is even helping their friends secure visas. It will be the party of the century.' Naomi and Vlad have been dating since 2008, and in 2010 he threw her a lavish 40th birthday party on the French Riviera, flying in the Black Eyed Peas and Grace Jones. The guest list featured Donatella Versace, Kate Moss, Giorgio Armani, Jennifer Lopez and Doronin’s fellow Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich." (PageSix)




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