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Thursday, May 02, 2013

Media-Whore D'oeuvres


"When U.S. President Barack Obama travels to Mexico on May 2, he will arrive amid a period of sweeping transformation in the country. Embroiled in myriad political battles and seeking to implement an extensive slate of national reforms, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration has been focused almost solely on internal affairs. Meanwhile, after years of delay, the U.S. Congress has been debating gun control and immigration reform -- two issues of serious interest to the Mexican government ... While Mexico reorients its internal focus to structural changes that its leaders hope will lay foundations for economic development, the country could also be affected by domestic issues under debate in the United States. For years, Mexico has been pressing the United States to enact stricter gun laws. Though a prominent gun control bill failed in the U.S. Senate on April 17, the issue will likely re-emerge later in 2013, and at least some gun control measures currently enjoy broad popular support. Meanwhile, demographic changes in the United States are driving a debate about immigration reform that, if implemented, would require collaboration with Mexico, many of whose citizens would seek to legalize their residential status in the United States. Though the passage of these reforms will similarly be determined solely by U.S. domestic political factors, their success would be a significant boon for bilateral relations with Mexico. Indeed, for Obama and Pena Nieto, the effects each feel of the other's policy decisions will be magnified by the unique demographic, geographic and economic ties binding their countries. Yet, the domestic environment and political calculations in each country will ultimately shape the effects of this period of political change. The U.S. political decision-making process is largely isolated from international influence, and the Pena Nieto administration likewise appears to be consolidating key policy areas under Mexican control at the expense of U.S. influence. Still, Mexico's steady emergence as an economic power in North America sets the stage for a bilateral relationship much more heavily focused on opportunities for economic cooperation." (STRATFOR)


"They say, ‘She’s fat.’ They get really nasty. Nothing is out of bounds,' Carla Bruni tells Vanity Fair’s Maureen Orth in the June issue about how she was criticized in the press for her appearance immediately following the birth of her daughter, Giulia. Bruni, who tells Orth she was particularly stung by these comments, states, 'It was a very fragile moment in my life. I’m kind of tall, with good-size shoulders, and when I am 40 pounds overweight, I don’t even look fat—I just look ugly. Having children when you’re older is not easy.' Forced to balance the constant campaign appearances with the needs of her newborn, Bruni says, 'I was dead. Breast-feeding the little girl, waking up every two hours at night because she was hungry. And then during the day following my man. Exactly at the time of my life when I would beg not to be photographed. It becomes like a war.' When Orth mentions Bruni’s having made headlines for leaving the Élysée Palace for the last time wearing a nondescript pantsuit and T-shirt that caused speculation that she was subtly telegraphing, 'Good riddance. I’ve had it,' Bruni responds, 'Not at all. Those were the only pants I could get into!”
Being a mother at 43 may have been difficult, but Bruni proudly shows Orth a picture of Giulia. “She is so Sarkozy,' she says. 'Nicolas has found his master. I think between our age and the fact that she’s a girl, we’re both melting, basically, you know?' 'That’s crazy,' Bruni tells Orth in response to rumors that Bruni would leave Sarkozy once he was no longer in power. In fact, Bruni states, the opposite is actually true, 'because power was one of the problems that we had to face together. Power is not a pleasure. It makes you vulnerable.' She continues, 'Power is brutal, and you have to be very structured inside to cope with power without getting blown away.' Bruni, who describes her style as First Lady as 'laid-back' and 'non-interfering,' says she 'never used that power I was supposed to have, not even one day.” Bruni tells Orth the only times she ever actively involved herself was to 'help people sometimes—when people asked me for help, people who were in hospitals or in difficult situations.'" (VanityFair


"Last night was another busy one in New York. Down at Pier 60 of the Chelsea Piers, the International Center of Photography hosted its ICP Infinity Awards and featured a presentation of actor Jeff Bridges who is also a serious photographer.  And down at the Joyce, They were holding the Petronio Spring Gala, featuring the world premiere of Like Lazarus Did (LLD 4/30). While up at the Academy Mansion at 2 East 63rd Street, the Financial Times was hosting its 125th anniversary party. I didn’t make it but I’m sure it was fun because the FT staff has an entirely different vibe from American newspapers. Also last night there was the annual Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala benefit. This featured a concert with the Jazz @ Lincoln Center orchestra and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Ashley Schiff Ramos produced the concert. She thoughtfully invited me months ago. It was a privilege. I love CSN and I love Jazz@Lincoln Center." (NYSocialDiary)



"Biotechnology and investment entrepreneur Arthur Altschul Jr. and Rula Jebreal are engaged, we can exclusively reveal. We hear wealthy Altschul, who is the son of former Goldman Sachs partner, philanthropist and art collector Arthur Altschul, proposed to journalist and screenwriter Jebreal in late April. Page Six reported in March that the two were dating, having been spotted together at several restaurants and events. This will be the first marriage for Altschul. Jebreal previously dated Julian Schnabel for five years, before splitting in 2011. She also has a teenage daughter from a previous relationship. Reached for comment, Altschul said: 'We are engaged. We’re very much in love, and look forward to being married.'" (PageSix)


"A former Republican governor of a deeply Republican state is running for a deeply Republican U.S. House seat, but he is best known for claiming to be walking the Appalachian Trail while he was actually visiting his mistress in Argentina, and he has a court date two days after next Tuesday’s special election because he allegedly trespassed on his ex-wife’s property. His Democratic opponent has never run for office and would be totally unknown, except that her brother is one of the nation’s most popular comedians. They aren’t called special elections for nothing. The circumstances in the race for South Carolina’s 1st District between ex-Gov. Mark Sanford (R) and Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D), sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, are so odd that the result, no matter what it is, won’t have much predictive value for next year’s midterm. What future race will look like this? But that’s just the thing with special elections: They are all unique in some way, because they are generally not waged on regular election days, they generally have poor turnout, and they come about because the previous occupant of the office either died in office or resigned, oftentimes under duress. No wonder why the Crystal Ball’s Alan Abramowitz has found that 'the results of special congressional elections do not accurately predict the results of the subsequent general election.' Kooky circumstances are common in specials, and they can help create strange upsets. Nearly two years ago, the national political world was transfixed on another special election, this time in Western New York’s 26th District, where Rep. Chris Lee (R) resigned after the married man was found flirting on the internet. The district had gone 52%-46% for John McCain in the 2008 presidential race, yet Kathy Hochul (D) was able to win a three-way race, and her messaging on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R) budget plan was largely credited as the reason." (CenterforPolitics)

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