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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

 
"There’s grumbling agreement even among the party faithful that the GOP is facing an existential crisis. The belated embrace of comprehensive immigration reform with nary a scream about 'amnesty' by anyone except Rush Limbaugh and the House radicals is just the latest indication that the default formula of anger and obstruction isn’t working anymore. The 2012 ass-kicking is forcing Republicans to confront their deepest demons—namely, that they cannot simply write off whole regions of the country and remain a viable national party. They cannot afford to alienate the fastest-growing communities of color in the USA. They cannot win a war against modernity. The big tent has been burnt down but it can still be rebuilt—if the Republican Party is willing to embrace reformers who don’t fit in an ideological straitjacket.  This ain’t no naïve pipe dream. What if I told you that there was a Northeast Republican who currently enjoys 62 percent support from Democrats, 69 percent support from non-whites, 70 percent support from women, and 72 percent support among independent voters? But wait, there’s more—the Republican is pulling those numbers in a state President Obama won by 17 points, where registered Republicans make up only 20 percent of the electorate. You might have guessed that’s the political profile of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—and while a post-Sandy bump can explain some of the sky-high numbers, any rational Republican consultant should want to run down to the Jersey Shore and figure out what Christie is doing right so the national party can do it, too." (TheDailyBeast)
 

"'Think three moves ahead!' and “Remember what Napoleon said: ‘Offense is the best defense,’ Ezekiel Emanuel, the bioethicist brother of Rahm and Ari Emanuel, recalls their father admonishing over family chess games. “These games reinforced our natural tendency to be aggressive in whatever we set out to do.” In a Vanity Fair adaptation from his forthcoming memoir, the eldest Emanuel son writes about the childhood that accounted for three phenomenally successful brothers, each with his own special talent. 'Ari really could not help but be annoying,' Ezekiel writes. To provoke their father, he would scan the menu at every restaurant to identify the most expensive things and order them all, a habit Ezekiel attributes to his dyslexia. 'He had trouble reading menus, and he found it easier just to look for the higher prices, which he anticipated were associated with the better dishes.' The pressure exerted by their demanding parents was especially hard on the youngest brother, who had a hard time at school. 'While other kids wrote out letters, Ari struggled to translate what he saw on the blackboard to the paper on his desk,' Ezekiel writes. ‘Dog’ became ‘bog’ and ‘boy’ became ‘yod.’ Ari fell behind his brothers and his classmates. 'Eventually he began to fear that his inability to read was caused by a character defect or a basic lack of intelligence,” Ezekiel writes. “He did not share these feelings openly. In fact, he buried them so deeply that they came out only in bursts of aggression or anger.' ... Ezekiel describes incidents that might be called child neglect today. When Rahm was a baby, their mother left him momentarily in the care of two-year-old Ezekiel and a five-year-old cousin before leaving the room. When the boys were children, she sent them off alone to spend summer days on Chicago’s Foster Avenue Beach, which they reached through a tunnel beneath Lake Shore Drive. After a few days in the sun Ari and Rahm could pass for African-Americans, which led to the occasional dustup on a beach that was segregated in custom and practice. 'Certain people—mostly white males between the ages of 10 and 15—made it their business to enforce the unwritten whites-only rule,' Ezekiel writes. 'When they called my brothers niggers and tried to bully us off the beach, we—naturally—refused to move. Instead, one of us would answer, ‘You can’t make me leave.’ If shouting didn’t work, the Emanuel boys had no qualms about throwing punches. “We were city kids, not anti-war activists.' At the end of a day like that, the three would settle into the room they shared to go over the day’s events. After saying a few words, Ezekiel writes, Ari would fall asleep holding on to a favorite blanket that he kept well into grade school." (VanityFair)


"Many of CNN’s top talents were being moved around like chess pieces yesterday. After new CNN honcho Jeff Zucker hired Chris Cuomo from ABC, he dismissed pundits James Carville, Mary Matalin and Bill Bennett. CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker resigned, and Anderson Cooper learned his show will no longer be repeated in prime time. Cuomo is expected to be joined by Erin Burnett on a new morning show. Page Six reported Dec. 10 that Zucker wanted to move Burnett from her prime-time slot 'to revive the cabler’s moribund morning ratings.' She is, however, contracted to prime time, and a source says, 'They’ll have to throw a bucket of money at her to go to the morning.' And Soledad O’Brien has been promised a role in prime time. Zucker has been taking an active role in all departments of CNN, not just human resources. 'He is all over everyone at the network,” said one source. “He is e-mailing everyone, around the clock, the anchors, the control rooms, he has inserted himself into everything. It is great for the network.'" (PageSix)


"Last night at the Café Carlyle, Amanda McBroom opened her cabaret show, 'A Valentine Rose.' Ms. McBroom, who hails from California is a singer/actress/cabaret performer and songwriter. She and her collaborator, composer Michele Brourman (who accompanied her last night) wrote the now standard 'The Rose' introduced by Bette Midler in the film of the same title. Even if you don’t think you know it, you do ... The song was first recorded by Midler but since has been recorded by Conway Twitty, LeAnne Rimes, Westlife, Joan Baez, as well as by artists in Japanese, German, Dutch, and Chinese. Ms. McBroom told the audience last night that since Valentine’s was coming up, she chose a repertoire of love songs, including tunes by Cole Porter, Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, and by McBroom and Brourman. Among the crowd: Mr. and Mrs. Regis Philbin, the great Judy Collins (who has recorded McBroom/Brourman tunes, and also plays the Café Carlyle) with her husband Louis Nelson, the great Paul Williams, and Tracey Jackson and Glenn Horowitz." (NYSocialDiary)


"Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes joked about the gossip over his motive for buying politics and culture magazine The New Republic last year. At a party to toast the mag’s relaunch at his SoHo loft Monday, Hughes, 29, said, 'They would say, ‘He could do anything in the world, why would he take on such a hard project?’ ' He explained that he believed in “great writing to shape how we view the world,” and the 'belief that we can build a future for smart, substantive journalism in an age when technology challenges the paradigm that’s existed for a very long time.' The bash drew Christine Quinn, Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, David Remnick, Arianna Huffington, BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith, Barry Diller and Fareed Zakaria." (PageSix)



"Eccles Center in Park City, Utah—known to Sundance veterans as 'The Big House'—is so massive that my first thought was that the Rolling Stones would have had a tough time selling this joint out at 10 p.m. on a Tuesday night in the middle of a frigid January. The night in question was last Tuesday, Jan. 22. The occasion was the world premiere of a film that I wrote, Lovelace, in which Amanda Seyfried stars as 1970s porn icon-turned-women’s rights activist Linda Lovelace. Team Lovelace flew into Park City with a bit of a tailwind. Ms. Seyfried had received raves for her performance as Cosette in Les Misérables, there were encouraging results from two focus groups, and there was a generally healthy buzz surrounding the film. But that’s how every ghost story starts, isn’t it? Haunted whispers from around the campfires of Sundance, Cannes and Toronto—an enticing cabin in the mountains, a super-sexy young woman about to take her top off and a group of friends high on camaraderie and optimism—three weeks later, everybody is telemarketing or teaching English in Thailand. That’s the dirty little secret about the film industry (well, one of many, actually). You can test and prod and predict all you want, but the clinically detached truth is that you never have any clue if your movie is any good until you get it in front of an unbiased audience. There are probably 100 different variables that factor into whether a project is christened a success or not, but none is more important than landing a distribution deal." (Observer)

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