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Monday, November 05, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"It was viciously, teeth-chatteringly cold late Friday night at the Jiffy Lube Live ampitheater in Bristow, Virginia, not long before the clock struck twelve. After amassing over the course of several hours in massive lines that snaked haphazardly through the parking lot outside, some 24,000 Democrats sat shivering and waiting at Barack Obama's final rally in the Old Dominion of 2012. For the press corps, there was no power; at first, there weren't even any chairs. But none of those things were what made the wait unbearable. That honor belonged to the warm-up act, the ever-execrable Dave Matthews, who at one point uttered a sentence that, coming from him, was so horrific it chills my soul to restate it now: 'I'm gonna play a few more.' What could possibly compel a sane person to put up with all of this? The chance to see Obama on stage with Bill Clinton, duh. Four years ago, there was only one joint appearance of the current and the previous Democratic president — at an event in Kissimmee, Florida, where the chill in the air was matched by the frostiness evident between the two men. But a lot has changed since then, and today, while the personal vibe between them is not exactly toasty, the two are working hand in glove in the service of Obama's reelection. Taking the stage to introduce his successor, Clinton, hoarse and raspy, announced, 'As you can see, I have given my voice in the service of my president' — and then added, in the same awkward and loaded phrase he'd been using at his solo appearances previously, that 'I am much more enthusiastic about Barack Obama’s election tonight than I was even four years ago.' A little while later, Obama returned the favor, calling Clinton 'the master,' 'a great president and a great friend.'" (NyMag)


"With a slight, unexpected lift provided by Hurricane Sandy, Mother Nature’s October surprise, President Barack Obama appears poised to win his second term tomorrow. Our final Electoral College projection has the president winning the key swing states of Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin and topping Mitt Romney, with 290 electoral votes.This has been a roller-coaster campaign, though very tight ever since Romney dramatically outshone Obama in the first debate in Denver on Oct. 3. Yet for a challenger to defeat an incumbent, the fates must be with the challenger again and again. Who could have imagined that a Frankenstorm would act as a circuit-breaker on the Republican’s campaign, blowing Romney off center stage for three critical days in the campaign’s last week, while enabling Obama to dominate as presidential comforter-in-chief, assisted by his new bipartisan best friend, Gov. Chris Christie (R)?Adding to the president’s good fortune was a final jobs report that was basically helpful because it wasn’t disastrously bad — that is, the unemployment rate failed to jump back above the psychologically damaging level of 8%. Romney could have used that number to build a crescendo for change. Instead, the final potential obstacle to Obama’s reelection passed by as a one-day story. While Romney surged after the first debate, he never quite closed the deal in the key swing states. And now, we believe he has run out of time." (Sabato)



"Your humble blogger is headed to the United Kingdom this week to give a few talks and generally escape the election and post-election frenzy. Blogging will be light. However, before departing for the land of scones and Devonshire cream, there's one last election-related issue that's worth some words.  As I briefly discussed a few weeks ago, there's a brewing conflict about how to read the polls for the U.S. presidential election. This has crystallized into some latent, not-so-latent, and pretty damn blatant hostility towards' FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver. Now, some interpret this as simply a part of a larger War on Numbers. As Brendan Nyhan notes, Silver's analysis lines up with all of the other analytic forecasters.  But let's try to be fair here. I think there are a couple of different criticisms going on here from different quarters of the public sphere, and it's worth evaluating them on their own terms." (ForeignPolicy)


"Monday, November 5, 2012. It was sunny this weekend in New York. There were clouds passing over, but there was mostly sunshine. The first in a week. The clock was turned back an hour so it’s dark before six, and it got colder. Not very, but cold, especially for so many who have no heat even if they’re lucky enough to have a home. My friend Colette in Essex called me yesterday to tell me that they’d moved to a hotel because their cellar was flooded and their new oil burner conked out. They don’t know yet if it can be repaired. Saturday I made the Zabar's trip, for the first time in a couple of weeks. Mid-afternoon, the streets were busy and the sky was blue overhead. As you can see, no sign of disaster. Yet there are the thousands around New York and elsewhere who don’t have homes. Even those of us who experience some kind of hardship are better off if we have a home. It’s a week later now, and conditions are improving although slowly and not everywhere.  Friends and readers of the NYSD ask me if it was like 9/11. No. It wasn’t. In 9/11 everyone was worried about their own (future) safety. With the superstorm Sandy, many of us are fine now, while only a mile or two or three away, thousands of people are not fine." (NYSocialDiary)


"Manhattan is a city divided by power: uptown thrives and strengthens on electricity and wifi and artisanal cheese, while downtown grows meaner and leaner with each passing day in the dark. There are 1.6 million coexisting on 23 square miles with a clear, dangerous divide between them, and power likely won't return until the weekend. The center cannot hold. Chaos is imminent. And so we ask: Who will win the inevitable Uptown-Down Civil War of 2012? Hamilton Nolan: At this particular moment in time, downtown, operating on pure rage at days of blackouts and meager restaurant offerings, could burst forth and seize uptown for itself. Uptown is fat, happy, and complacent. Sitting up in their apartments, with electricity, reading the internet, eating Zabar's food. Downtown has NOTHING. And it is TIRED of it. Also, practically speaking, the UES is full of old people and the UWS is full of nearly-old people. Downtown kids could run through those neighborhoods like teeth through Ramen noodles. It's only above 125th where the fighting would turn more intense. So logically downtown should just take the UES and the UWS and declare victory. Rich Juzwiak: Downtown will win because so many of its inhabitants are staying with people uptown already. Those uptowners assume that downtown people would only want to pay back the generosity, that everyone is safe within the homes they have extended. That would make for an easy stealth attack on downtown's part. By the time uptown knows what's hit it, it will already be dead." (Gawker)


"With an approaching storm of monster proportions, Saturday night's Halloween fĂȘtes were celebrated with a fervor that rivaled the end of days. For its Old Hallows' Eve ball, hosted by Amanda Hearst, Charlotte Ronson, Peter Brant II, and others, the Gramercy Park Hotel's Rose Bar was packed to capacity, with several potential attendees turned away for inadequate costumes. In addition to the expected devils, cats, and skeletons, one also spied among the frenetic dance mob a hyperrealistic David Bowie, a creature from outer space, and a handful of Kate Middletons in various states of undress. Never a shrinking violet, Brant came dressed as a monarch, in baroque jacket, fur-trimmed robe and crown, and was holding court atop a banquette in a scene pulled straight from the days of the Sun King. Hearst, a chic-looking cat ('very last minute,' she confessed), was impressed with the selection. 'I've seen a lot of great costumes. I saw angry birds, which made me happy because I love that game!'" (Style)

"Lucien Smith’s exhibition at Half Gallery on the Lower East Side was scheduled to go on Friday night with flashlights when organizers got a pleasant surprise. 'We were prepared to do a blackout opening and hang the show in darkness,” Bill Powers, owner of Half Gallery and co-founder of Exhibition A, told us. 'We were fully stocked on batteries but got power one hour before the opening. We went from the Stone Age to the 21st century in the flick of a switch.' Prabal Gurung, Adam Lindemann, David Zwirner attended." (PageSix)

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