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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"As the 2012 election fades into the history books, we begin our first look at the 2014 contests for Senate, House and Governor. Let’s start with the Senate, which will be the site of an intense battle for control once again. Before looking ahead at the Republicans’ prospects to gain the six seats they need to win control of the Senate, it is first important — though for Republicans, painful — to look back at the past two Senate cycles. In 2010, Republicans probably threw away three seats when they nominated weak candidates in Colorado, Delaware and Nevada. Then, in the just-concluded election, they threw away, at a minimum, two more seats in Indiana and Missouri (thanks to the disastrous candidacies of Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin). And that’s not counting other Senate races where different Republican candidates might have performed better or even won in Florida, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio and Virginia. So instead of having a tied Senate, or a tiny majority for one side or the other, Republicans are in the unenviable position of needing to levitate out of a deep hole they’ve dug for themselves. Only then can they end Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) six-year (and counting) leadership of the Senate. The 113th Congress is slated to open in early January with Democrats holding a 55-45 edge in the U.S. Senate. (The number includes two independents, Sen.-elect Angus King of Maine and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who will caucus with the Democrats.) This assumes that the composition of the Senate does not change; it’s always possible that a senator will leave office prematurely, perhaps to take another position — for instance, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) might join the Obama administration as secretary of state or defense." (Sabato)


"Poland's Internal Security Agency announced Nov. 20 that it had arrested  'Brunon K,' a chemistry professor at the Agricultural University in Krakow who allegedly planned to attack the lower house of the Polish parliament. The arrest came Nov. 9, just two days before Warsaw's annual Independence Day parade, which authorities believe could have been another target. During the arrest, authorities seized ammonium nitrate fertilizer, high-powered, military-grade explosive RDX and other bomb-making equipment. They also seized several hundred rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest and a pistol. Presumably, the suspect in question is Dr. Brunon Kwiecien, who has published multiple chemistry papers at the Agricultural University in Krakow, according to a Polish academic directory. Kwiecien openly espoused anti-government views and accused the Polish government and the European Commission of tyranny. Specifically, he condemned the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which has angered Internet freedom activists in Europe. Kwiecien is also a self-proclaimed supporter of Norwegian ultranationalist terrorist Anders Breivik, who conducted a successful lone wolf attack in Oslo in 2011. Indeed, tactically Kwiecien's plot against the Polish government resembled Breivik's in many ways. But his was only the latest, certainly not the last, thwarted terrorist attack in Europe, where similar plots can be expected as the economic and political situation continues to worsen." (STRATFOR)



"Time Warner has made it official: former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker will be the new president of CNN Worldwide, replacing outgoing president Jim Walton. Zucker will take the reins in January. We gave the rundown on Zucker’s background earlier this week. The short version: he was a news prodigy at NBC, fumbled when he took over entertainment, but had success with the company’s cable channels as CEO. He left when Comcast acquired NBCU last year, and is most recently the EP of syndicated talker 'Katie.' Zucker will be based in New York, a stark departure for the channel, which has its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. In a note to CNN staffers, Turner Broadcasting chairman Phil Kent wrote: 'I picked Jeff because of his extensive experience and track record in broadcast and cable news, his passion for the news business and his strong belief, which I share, that the best days of CNN lie ahead if we create news programming on each of our platforms that delivers on the core values of the CNN brand: accuracy, immediacy and offering all perspectives through great reporting, analysis, explanation and presentation.'" (TVNewser)


"First, the Wednesday Michael’s lunch. The holiday decorations are up, adding a certain something to the vibe. A big crowd; all kinds of business going on. You can see how all kinds of business can be conducted at these tables and no one will overhear. Because everyone is talking. That’s media, no? In the backroom Peggy Siegal had organized a luncheon for Omar Sy, one of the stars of The Intouchables (2011), the French comedy-drama that was a huge hit in France (it has also made a big splash in the US). It’s a Weinstein Company picture and Harvey Weinstein and Omare Sy were present. Someone told me Malcolm Gladwell was among the guests too. At another table Lord Weidenfeld was lunching with Marie Brenner, Meryl Tisch, Jessica and Drew Guff, Peggy Noonan, Carol Saper, Sascha Havlicek. I was told they were all there to discuss the extraordinary international dialogue that is at the core of Lord Weidenfeld’s foundation based at Oxford: http://www.strategicdialogue.org/." (NYSocialDiary)


"Odds are, at some point in your life you will have to break bread with someone you don't like.
Maybe you're a Real Housewife who wasn't invited to a perfume launch party that all of the other Real Housewives were invited to, so you have to have lunch with Ramona in an empty Italian restaurant at 4 p.m. on a Thursday because you're 'not about drama.' Maybe you're in bread breaking karate-type competition and the only other competitor is your nemesis. Awkward lunches can happen for lots of reasons. Yesterday, the White House announced that former Massachusetts governor and Twilight Team Edwardian Mitt Romney will meet with President Obama in a private dining room for lunch today. Press will not be allowed. Nor (I'm guessing) cell phones at the table, if Obama is anything like my dad. These two have so much to talk about that they might as well not say anything, because where do you even begin? You begin with Gawker's Guide to Awkward Lunches." (Gawker)


"In an interview with Betabeat last night, infamous revenge porn peddler Hunter Moore shed some light on what his new smut submission site, HunterMoore.TV, will look like. Mr. Moore, who rose to prominence with the now-defunct revenge porn site IsAnyoneUp, intends to port all of the old content over from the original site onto the new one. 'I have nerds for days,' Mr. Moore, in New York to serve community service following a violent incident, told Betabeat last night in a Lower East Side bar. “I have nerds on nerds. I have so many secret servers. I got shit in Switzerland, Australia, Canada. All that stuff’s accessible, it’s just on a different domain.' He added that any content that had been legally questionable before will be gone. 'All these people that thought they were safe: nah, it’s all gonna be back,'  he added. Perhaps even more terrifying is the newest feature planned for HunterMoore.TV. The submission form, which previously included fields like the person’s name, links to social media profiles and a place to upload photos, will have a new field: address. Scorned lovers who submit photos of their exes for revenge can now also enable others to physically stalk them by including their addresses along with the photos. HunterMoore.TV will then display the photos on a map. Mr. Moore says he’s not liable for these sorts of privacy violations because it’s all user-submitted content. He reasons that he’s protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that websites are immune from legal responsibility for content submitted by others." (Observer)


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