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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

 

"China has become a metaphor. It represents a certain phase of economic development, which is driven by low wages, foreign appetite for investment and a chaotic and disorderly development, magnificent in scale but deeply flawed in many ways. Its magnificence spawned the flaws, and the flaws helped create the magnificence. The arcs along which nations rise and fall vary in length and slope. China's has been long, as far as these things go, lasting for more than 30 years. The country will continue to exist and perhaps prosper, but this era of Chinese development -- pyramiding on low wages to conquer global markets -- is ending simply because there are now other nations with even lower wages and other advantages. China will have to behave differently from the way it does now, and thus other countries are poised to take its place ... There is no single country that can replace China. Its size is staggering. That means that its successors will not be one country but several countries, most at roughly the same stage of development. Taken together, these countries have a total population of just over 1 billion people. We didn't aim for that; we realized it after we selected the countries. The point to emphasize is that identifying the PC16 is not a forecast. It is a list of countries in which we see significant movement of stage industries, particularly garment and footwear manufacturing and mobile phone assembly. In our view, the dispersal of industries that we see as markers of early-stage economic growth is already underway. In addition, there are no extreme blocks to further economic growth, although few of these countries would come to mind as having low political risk and high stability -- no more than China would have come to mind in 1978-1980. I should also note that we have excluded countries growing because of energy and mineral extraction. These countries follow different paths of development. The PC16 are strictly successors to China as low wage, underdeveloped countries with opportunities to grow their manufacturing sectors dramatically. The new activity is focused on Africa, Asia and to a lesser extent, Latin America. When you look at map, much of this new activity is focused in the Indian Ocean Basin. The most interesting pattern is in the eastern edge of Sub-Saharan Africa: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Myanmar and Bangladesh are directly on the Indian Ocean. The Indochinese countries and the Philippines are not on the Indian Ocean, and even though I don't want to overstate the centrality of the Indian Ocean, they are nearby. At the very least we can say that there are two ocean basins, the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. You might want to read my colleague Robert D. Kaplan's book Monsoon on this region. There are some countries in Latin America: Peru, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Mexico. A special word needs to be included on Mexico. The area north of Mexico City and south of the U.S. borderlands has been developing intensely in recent years. We normally would not include Mexico but the area in central-southern Mexico is large, populous and still relatively underdeveloped." (STRATFOR)


"In 2011, Huma Abedin had support from her friends and Clinton associates when she decided to stay with her husband, scandal-plagued New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.The past week, that support has morphed into concern. Their worry is as much about what she is going through personally — a rapid turn from years of glowing media coverage of Abedin to front pages questioning her judgment — as it is about her decision to stand by and encourage politically a husband who several Democrats now believe is way past the point of redemption. Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s top aide and the wife of mayoral candidate-turned-national-joke Anthony Weiner, has become the focus of media coverage that’s gone, in short order, from sympathetic to savage. She remains in charge of running Clinton’s transition team, a slim staff of about a half-dozen aides, some of whom have other jobs – though she is a full-time employee. The feelings about Weiner in Clintonland are unequivocal, according to one someone close to the couple: 'Everyone’s done with him.' Multiple sources familiar with the Clintons’ thinking said they would be delighted for him to disappear from public consumption. (The fact that Weiner, who began the campaign name-dropping Bill Clinton repeatedly, declared at a mayoral forum Monday night that he wasn’t overly concerned with the opinion of non-New York City residents like the Clintons probably didn’t help). The feelings are far more complicated and emotional about Abedin, who actively encouraged her husband to run for mayor and who has spent her entire adult life working in some capacity for the Clintons. 'Everyone loves her to death,' said a Clinton ally who’s worked with her. Abedin did not give Clinton a personal heads-up that she planned to defend her husband at a hastily-called press conference last week. Still, Clinton was aware ahead of time that she planned to do it, having been alerted from others in her orbit, sources said. There are no current plans for the Clintons to ask Weiner to bow out of the race, although several of their allies have made clear how they feel about him. For them to do so formally would tether them to a publicity train wreck." (Politico)


"This past weekend I read 'I Told You So; Gore Vidal Talks Politics/Interviews with Jon Wiener.' The opening page after the copyright page contained the quote of Gore: “The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so.” The blurb on the cover has a quote by Dick Cavett: 'Best talker since Oscar Wilde.' Although Mr. Cavett couldn’t have been around when Wilde was propounding his poetic wit for any and all to listen to. I never imagined what that would have been like until I read Cavett’s quote. Because Gore Vidal is endlessly interesting on a number of levels ... If you like Gore Vidal, you will not be disappointed. If you don’t like Gore Vidal, you shouldn’t waste your time. When we read with rancor we deprive ourselves of truth.Then after the Vidal interviews — it was a quick read, a very nice little book; like watching it on TV with no noise in the room — after that one I picked up the new 'My Lunches with Orson; Conversations between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles.' Edited by Peter Biskind. If you’re a fan or an historian of movie lore, or even if you just like watching those great old movies on TCM. Like a compulsive habit; buy this book. Orson Welles at table. I once saw him there. He was the size of the table — round table — sitting in a tiny nook of a private room, separated from public view by a curtain in the old Ma Maison on Beverly Boulevard. Dressed all in black, vast in size, somewhat darkly menacing yet oddly sorrowful in presence, it was almost like Hollywood noir come to life; 'The Third Man' sixty years later.  I moved along that day I saw him, knowing I wasn’t supposed to be there." (NYSocialDiary)


"America was stunned when 'poor little rich girl' Casey Johnson, the troubled first-born daughter of billionaire New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, was found dead at age 30 in January 2010.
The Band-Aid heiress had been cut off from her fortune and family, whose help she refused. Her death from complications of diabetes sadly ended a short but scandalous life. Now, Casey’s turbulent world is ex-amined in JERRY OPPENHEIMER’S new bombshell unauthorized biography, 'Crazy Rich: Power, Scandal, and Tragedy Inside the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty.' Casey’s socialite mother, Sale Johnson, along with relatives and friends, spoke candidly for the first time since her death. Now, in an exclusive excerpt, Oppenheimer paints an astonishing picture of the doomed heiress and the role her mother and father played in their daughter’s life and tragic end . . . " (NYPost)


"Thirty years ago this past week, Sire Records released Madonna's debut album. Although it only created one pop icon, Madonna the album was the culmination of months of effort by diverse artists, photographers, executives and musicians. 'The first new wave disco music,' as one of her friends described it, carried plenty in its DNA: bouncy R&B grooves; traces of the last gasps of the pre-AIDS Downtown NYC culture; and, of course, the force of personality of the future Queen of Pop.
In early 1982, Madonna was 23 years old. In the four years since leaving Detroit for New York City, she'd earned her starving-artist bona fides, working at a Dunkin Donuts, sleeping in an abandoned Queens synagogue and rocking studded bracelets, ripped jeans and bleached, cropped hair ... Reggie Lucas: 'When Warner Brothers called me about working with Madonna, I was the big score. It seems ridiculous in retrospect, but I was an established professional and she was a nobody. I met with her at a tiny little apartment she had in the Lower East Side. I thought she was vivacious and sexy and interesting, and had a lot of energy. I signed on to do the record, and then 'Everybody' came out and it made a little noise. It sold 100,000 copies, so I was like, 'All right! This artist became a somebody before I even started on the album.' So that was nice, that was encouraging. Most of the people around Madonna at the corporate level did not get her and for the most part did not like her. You could see them recoil from her bohemianism. Everybody thought she was crazy and gross. I would never say she was a punk rocker, but she used to wear little boys' shorts, and white t-shirts with holes in them, and then she had little ring things in her ears. She wasn't the weirdest person I'd ever met, you know? I'd worked with Sun Ra! So after hanging out with the Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Madonna didn't seem particularly avant-garde. Michael Rosenblatt: While Reggie was making the record, nobody at Warner Brothers gave a shit at all. Madonna was just a little dance girl. Reggie Lucas: She was poor. She borrowed Jean-Michel Basquiat's apartment while he was in Paris, and so I spent a good hour and a half during the record meeting with her at Basquiat's place. He had his art up there, nobody knew who he was." (RollingStone)


"Word is going around New York that Leonard Lauder will marry his friend, the lovely Linda Johnson, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library, on August 18th.  The family knows; everyone has met, and everyone couldn’t be happier for the couple. So too their many friends. Now, to move to the other side of the marital universe, the Divorce Bel Air Style. Robert Day, the billionaire Superior Oil heir and international investor, is divorcing his beautiful wife Kelly. The Days have been married for a number of years, and quite happily according to close friends. But evidently Mr. Day, who is from one of the rich oil families of Los Angeles, the grandson of William Keck (who founded Superior Oil), a man who is now celebrating his 70th year, wants to go it alone ..." (NYSocialDiary)

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