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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Consider the geography of unemployment. Only four countries in Europe are at or below 6 percent unemployment: the geographically contiguous countries of Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The immediate periphery has much higher unemployment; Denmark at 7.4 percent, the United Kingdom at 7.7 percent, France at 10.6 percent and Poland at 10.6 percent. In the far periphery, Italy is at 11.7 percent, Lithuania is at 13.3 percent, Ireland is at 14.7 percent, Portugal is at 17.6 percent, Spain is at 26.2 percent and Greece is at 27 percent. Germany, the world's fourth-largest economy, is at the center of gravity of Europe. Exports of goods and services are the equivalent of 51 percent of Germany's gross domestic product, and more than half of Germany's exports go to other European countries. Germany sees the European Union's free trade zone as essential for its survival. Without free access to these markets, its exports would contract dramatically and unemployment would soar. The euro is a tool that Germany, with its outsized influence, uses to manage its trade relations -- and this management puts other members of the eurozone at a disadvantage. Countries with relatively low wages ought to have a competitive advantage over German exports. However, many have negative balances of trade. Thus, when the financial crisis hit, their ability to manage was insufficient and led to sovereign debt crises, which in turn further undermined their position via austerity, especially as their membership in the eurozone doesn't allow them to apply their own monetary policies. This doesn't mean that they were not profligate in their social spending, but the underlying cause of their failure was much more complex. Ultimately it was rooted in the rare case of a free trade zone being built around a massive economy that depended on exports. (Germany is the third-largest exporter in the world, ranking after China and the United States.) The North American Free Trade Agreement is built around a net importer. Britain was a net importer from the Empire. German power unbalances the entire system. Comparing the unemployment rate of the German bloc with that of Southern Europe, it is difficult to imagine these countries are members of the same trade group. Even France, which has a relatively low unemployment rate, has a more complex story. Unemployment in France is concentrated in two major poles in the north and the south, with the southeast of France being the largest of them. Thus, if you look at the map, the southern tier of Europe has been hit extraordinarily hard with unemployment, and Eastern Europe not quite as badly, but Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have been left relatively unscathed. How long this will last, given the recession in Germany, is another matter, but the contrast tells us a great deal about the emerging geopolitics of the region." (STRATFOR)


"It was a busy one in New York on the charity gala circuit. Down at Three Sixty on 10 Desbrosses Street, the Bronx Museum of the Arts hosted its Spring Gala and Auction – “The Bronx in Venice” – (you had to be there), chaired by Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy, and Laura Blanco and Robert Shainheit were chairs of the evening. Tim Rollins and Dahn Vo were Artist Chairs. They were honoring the artist Sarah Sze, Wallace Edgecombe, former Director of the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, and Shelley and Donald Rubin, the co-founders of the Rubin Museum of Art. We covered the inaugural opening of the Rubin several years ago. The Rubins have been lifelong collectors of the art of the Himalayas and surrounding regions. A number of years ago they decided on another, greater adventure – starting a museum of their art. New Yorkers who share their interest and aesthetic know that it is a great success and has added a new factor to the culture. I’m familiar with the Bronx Museum, having been introduced to its work by our great late friend Roger Webster who was an early supporter. Perusing the Benefit Committee, and considering the participation of the Rubins, the museum is a force to watch here in New York.At the same hour, just up West Side Highway at the Chelsea Piers C-Cap was holding its annual Benefit 2013 (Grand Tasting of 40 of New York’s Finest Chefs)." (NySocialDiary)


"The sight of First Daughter Malia Obama at a dinner this weekend with her friends prompted one spy to describe the meal as a 'young girl’s social power club gathering.' On Saturday night, President Obama’s elder daughter, 14, was spotted at giant Chelsea restaurant Buddakan with eight of her friends, including a daughter of New York Giants chairman Steve Tisch. According to witnesses, the girls were chaperoned by four parents and five security guards who dined at the table directly next to them. 'She was in the middle of a gaggle of young girls,' one source told us, while Secret Service remained a comfortable distance behind them — and deterred other customers from bothering them. The presidential teenager was dressed 'very casual, jeans and ponytail.' Malia and her friends were overheard saying, 'This place is so hip' while they dined on rock shrimp, edamame dumplings, short ribs, lobster fried rice and noodles. An Obama rep didn’t get back to us. " (PageSix)


"Besides all the (must-warranted) fuss over splendor on the runways during Paris Fashion Week, there are shindigs du note happening left and right. On the refined end of the soiree spectrum: last week's Town & Country bash, held at the abode of Ambassador Charles Rivkin and his wife, Susan Tolston. The eve's woman of honor? T&C fashion editor-at-large, Jade Hobson. Carine Roitfeld and Stephen Gan rolled through, as did T&C's EIC, Jay Fielden, Hayley Bloomingdale, Indre Rockefeller, Shala Monroque, and Dior's Olivier Bialobos, and Andre Leon Talley (we can't get enough of this superexcited meet-and-greet shot with ALT and the Ambassador!). " (Fashionweekdaily)




"A poignant documentary to add to your must-view list ASAP, a night at the museum, and Jon Stewart avec wife rolling through. Such was the case for last night's Cinema Society, Bank of America, and Food & Wine-sponsored screening of A Place At The Table, featuring Jeff Bridges, an outspoken food policy advocate who launched the End Hunger Network in 1983, and restaurateur extraordinaire Tom Colicchio. The flick delves into the seriously broken system that is nutrition in the U.S., tackling the alarming rates of hunger as well as obesity nationwide (and, appallingly, how often both epidemics dovetail in the same households). The riveting film brought out the likes of Steve Buscemi, Gina Gershon, Dionne Warwick, Lou Reed, Matt Dillon, and Lauren Bush Lauren, all of whom piled into the subterranean Celeste Bartos theater to get enlightened. Mario Batali (and his tangerine Crocs, of course) got settled early, nabbing a prime aisle seat; shortly after, the Food & Wine crew poured in, including the mag's EIC, Dana Cowin, and Colicchio's Top Chef co-star, Gail Simmons. An additional contingent of intrigued folks filled up another theater two flights upstairs, where the 'holy sh*t!' reactions to the film's various story arcs and revelations was quite palpable, your Daily included. Heartfelt intro remarks ensued pre-film, for both theaters, including producers/co-directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush (j'adore that white frock, Lori!)." (Fashionweekdaily)

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