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Monday, November 12, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"I suspect that someone in the military with an axe to grind ratted out David Petraeus for having an extramarital affair. I am told that President Obama tried to talk Petraeus out of resigning, but Petraeus took the samurai route and insisted that he had done a dishonorable thing and now had to try to balance it by doing the honorable thing and stepping down as CIA director.  But why? Petraeus is retired from the military. If the affair happened back when he was on active duty, it is part of the past. And there is nothing illegal about civilians having affairs. So the surprise to me is that Obama let him go. But the administration's loss may be Princeton's gain." (Tom Ricks)


"That the essence of Team Obama’s reelection strategy was to capitalize on his strength with what National Journal’s Ronald Brownstein calls 'the coalition of the ascendant' had long been clear. Back in May, I wrote a cover story for this ­magazine laying out Chicago’s plan to focus ­laserlike on four key voting blocs: ­African-Americans, Hispanics, college-educated white women, and voters aged 18 to 29. At bottom, the Obaman theory of the case was that, despite the fragility of the recovery and the doubts many voters had about POTUS’s capacity to put America on the path to prosperity, the deft exploitation of coalition politics, together with the ruthless disqualification of Romney as a credible occupant of the Oval Office, could secure the president a second term. That in 2012, in other words, demographics would trump economics. And so it did, as a glance at the exit polls confirms. Contrary to the assumptions of the Romney campaign, the electorate that turned out last Tuesday was more diverse than 2008’s, not less. Nationally, the white vote fell from 75 to 72 percent, while the share made up by blacks rose from 12.2 to 13 percent, by Hispanics from 8.4 to 10, by Asians from 2.5 to 3, by women from 53 to 54, and by 18-to-29-year-olds from 18 to 19 percent. Obama’s claim on each of those groups was overwhelming: 93 percent of African-Americans, 71 percent of Latinos, 73 percent of Asians, 55 percent of the ladies, and 60 percent of the kids. And that all made the difference in the battleground states. Had it not been for Obama’s vast advantages with Hispanics, he would not have carried Colorado, Florida, or Nevada, and the same was true when it came to African-Americans in Virginia and Ohio. And had it not been for his margins with young voters and college-educated women, the races in Iowa, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire would have been razor-close rather than five-to-seven-point strolls in the park." (John Heilmann)

"Last night at the Plaza Hotel, The New York Landmarks Conservancy held its annual Living Landmarks Celebration. This year’s Landmarks were Daniel Boulud, Robert Caro, Peter L. Malkin, Liza Minnelli, James M. Nederlander, James L. Nederlander (son) and E. John Rosenwald. Mr. Rosenwald, who was the final honoree on the program, is a very well known Wall Street investment banker and an ardent philanthropic leader. He’s been active in business and the life of the city for many years now, and highly regarded. He comports himself with an ease of dignity and carriage that if you saw him on the street, and didn’t know who he was, you might think he was a prominent civic figure busily going about his day. Which he is. He has served on many boards of important New York institutions including the NYU Langone Medical Center. On the full moon of Sandy passing through last week, -- he told us last night when he took the podium to acknowledge his honor -- the East River, which is not actually a river but an estuary connecting the Harbor with the Long Island Sound, rose sixteen feet over its normal level. This was higher than the previous record of eleven feet in 1821! Last week the river spilled over the banks including the east side of Manhattan at 31st Street where the Langone Medical Center is located. The hospital’s subterranean floors were flooded with salt water, and so it lost its power." (NYSocialDiary)


"The British actor and director Kenneth Branagh, who last year turned in an Oscar-nominated performance in My Week With Marilyn as Sir Laurence Olivier, won’t have to just play titled nobility on film anymore. He’s been knighted by Queen Elizabeth at a ceremony just before the weekend. His Hamlet co-star Kate Winslet has received an honor, as well, named a Commander of the British Empire, while Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton has been named an Officer. (Neither of them are Dames yet.)" (Observer)



"A couple of weeks ago on a Friday, Daisy Soros asked me if I would come by that early evening for a reception she and her husband Paul were giving for a group of people involved in a 'fellowship' she and Paul had organized. I had no idea what 'a fellowship' was. Although Daisy and Paul Soros are interesting philanthropists to me because they fund ideas borne of personal experience. The Summer Swing dance that runs for a few weeks every Summertime over at Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center is an example. Dancing, says Daisy, makes people feel good. Why not something to make people feel good? Exactly. If you’ve never been, make a point next summer. You don’t have to dance; just watching everybody dance makes you feel good. It’s Joy, pure and simple. An important ingredient. Anyway, this particular Friday was a bit of a problem. I’m not enthusiastic about anything that intrudes on my self-appointed half day off. But I like Daisy because she’s friendly and fun, and direct; and she has a strong sense of what Need is. So I stopped by the Soros apartment on my way to dinner with friends, and this is what I saw."(NYSocialDiary)

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