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Thursday, August 08, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"The Crystal Ball has a number of rating changes in Senate, House and gubernatorial races to announce, but perhaps our most notable rating is one we haven’t changed. A couple of recent Democratic polls show Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) narrowly edging out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in their likely matchup in November 2014. Additionally, McConnell has drawn a potentially credible primary challenger, businessman Matt Bevin. Grimes and Bevin both reportedly impressed at Fancy Farm, the annual Bluegrass State political confab held last weekend. With all that said, we’re keeping this race as 'likely Republican.' We favor McConnell to win both his primary on May 20, 2014, and his sixth term in the fall general election. Why? Let’s start with the primary challenge. McConnell is already running ads against Bevin, leading some to ask this question: If McConnell is already on the air, he must be really worried, right? Not necessarily. McConnell is, if anything, an aggressive campaigner, and he has a massive war chest: His most recent fundraising report showed him with $9.6 million cash on hand. Additionally, in a world of SuperPACs, McConnell effectively will have an almost unlimited amount of money behind him, whether directly through his own spending or indirectly through third parties. So if McConnell has essentially bottomless coffers, then why not attack Bevin early and often? Wouldn’t it be political malpractice not to? In politics, a candidate sometimes is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. If McConnell were sitting on his heels, he could project “confidence” to observers, but he might allow the Bevin insurgency to grow in strength. If McConnell acts — as he has — he shows that he’s 'worried' about Bevin, but given his resources, he can put in some early work to keep his challenger at arm’s length. The latter is a better strategy than the former, especially because Bevin is already on the air himself. McConnell supported ex-Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson in his losing effort against now-Sen. Rand Paul during the 2010 Republican Senate primary. However, McConnell and Paul are now allies, and a Paulite, Jesse Benton, is running McConnell’s campaign. Presumably, Paul’s support would be a big help to a McConnell challenger, but Kentucky’s two senators are on the same page, at least at the moment. We’ll see if some of the big conservative groups — the Club for Growth, the Senate Conservatives Fund — decide to intervene on Bevin’s behalf. But for the time being, it’s hard to see McConnell losing a primary." (CenterforPolitics)


"It was Wednesday. I went to Michael’s. What else? I was joined by my esteemed partner Mr. JH – making one of his rare outings that aren’t related to the golf course (and one of the rare times I actually see him) – and one of our esteemed contributors, Delia von Neuschatz. Delia grew up in several countries in Europe and in Morocco where her parents were doctors. She’s married to a man in the financial world, and she’s a dedicated writer. She did that those great series on bookshops here in New York and in London. She recently wrote a piece on Anderson & Sheppard, the British suitmaker. You’ll never have to wonder again. And maybe you’ll make your way to them. I know I would if .... She also did a couple of pieces a while ago on visiting the Basque country and concentrating on the food. Dining out, lunching out. I’d never thought about the Basque country before, except in a political way. Delia’s piece changed all that. Another destination confirmed with the big if ...Michael’s seemed quiet for a Wednesday. It was full up but it was as if someone turned the volume down. Next door to us was Gillian Miniter and Steven Stolman; across the way Deborah Grubman was celebrating a birthday with Prudence Inzerillo. Across the aisle from them, Mr. Inzerillo with a guest. Across from them, Barry Frey; just beyond, Judy and Peter Price and guest." (NYSocialDiary)


"Dear Gato, The silly season is over and the dog days are about to set in. Come stai? I’m writing from the Tuscan hill country, where I fled after the São Paulo trip ended with a prolonged visit to the police station, where Luis RR—AKA 'The Wizard'—had taken me before I caught a plane home. RR is hooked up with the Brazilian law-enforcement community on the ground and at the highest level. He told me he was going to run for sheriff a few years back and pulled out only because of the pay grade. Now he’s a digital military tycoon in the making. Information is the biggest game in town, and he’s in on it. From submarines to Apache helicopters, the dude has reach. It’s a pity he didn’t show up two hours earlier that Friday night. His cop buddy—who, because of the pay grade, works extra shifts as private security—would have taken care of the situation. I was wrong to assume that in Brazil, the rule of law comes for free; it doesn’t. As Luis said in passing, 'We are a violent people.'
He did me right. I got to see the new Brazil in action. A stunning, willowy blonde, looking like Gisele Bundchen and wearing a loose Brigitte Bardot sweater, was manning the reception desk at a station in the Jardims neighborhood, and I told Luis I’d never seen a police-person look like that before. He winked at me and said, “Don’t be fooled. She’s tough.” It turns out she was an undercover officer. I met the station chief and he told me how a similar thing had happened to him in Miami two weeks ago." (Christopher Hargreaves-Allen)


"Paper: I was surprised Cecilia Roth's character mentions the King and his many alleged dalliances. She literally says, 'this hooker fucked the King.' It seems like that never could have happened 20 years ago. Pedro Almadovar: It's true. Now there is a big discussion about that. I read the day before yesterday in a newspaper that the same adviser who told Bill Clinton to ask to be forgiven by Hillary and to admit that he had an affair with Lewinsky, that same person is advising the King to do exactly the same. He has to admit to the country that he had an affair and he has to ask the Queen for forgiveness. This of course is very much a part of Spanish reality at this moment and it's not that I want to cause the King any problems, but it's a story that's in all the tabloids. Even the mainstream press is also covering this story and talking about all the various lovers -- especially one who seems to have received state funds. Many people accuse the King of escaping from the body guards, on a motorcycle with a helmet, to visit some girls, some actresses. Everything is out in the open -- people speak directly about these things. And so some people joke about his private life." (Paper)

"The British aristocracy, for the most part, has been strangled by its own articulacy, drowned in the mass of the middle class. The only real trace of it is a few sepia-toned photographs ironically hung in five-star-hotel bathrooms. What is left of the old aristocracy is sorry, lost, and irredeemably stupid. Refugees in their own houses, living in corners, cutting coupons, eating out of cans, complaining to the postman about the state of the nation and the hell of modernity. But if you had to save one, just for breeding purposes, as an ideal specimen, it would have to be 58-year-old Charles Henry Gordon Lennox, Earl of March, heir to the Duke of Richmond, Gordon, and Aubigny, and the man behind Goodwood. Within a minute of meeting Lord March you will be aware that he is warm, charming, amused, interested, and self-deprecating about his deftness in a very British way. He’s also easy on the eyes. He works far more diligently and longer than he would like you to notice. He is not the man he would have chosen to be, but then that’s the toll that heredity demands. He wears his titles and history with a fatalistic shrug, like a birthmark, or a limb. He would have been, if all things had been egalitarian, a successful photographer, which he was, for years, in London. But that wasn’t his fate. The luck of the Gordon Lennoxes is that they have bred themselves better than anyone else. (When you consider that breeding is the only thing aristocrats have to do, it’s astonishing they’ve produced so many human mules.) Gordon Lennox is the family name. The double-barrel usually means an injection of mercantile cash somewhere back down the line from a fortuitous marriage. “March” is a courtesy title for the heir to the dukedom. Charles’s father, 83, is the current duke. None of the 10 Dukes of Richmond have been mouth-breathing window lickers. All have served their nation and managed to stay away from packs of cards and showgirls. The fourth duke fought two duels, winning both, built Lord’s Cricket Ground, and died of rabies in 1819 after being bitten by a fox in Canada.
The titles originate from the 17th century and one of Charles II’s mistresses, a French lady whose talents were admirably suited to her calling. She was a goddess on her back but a spy on the side." (VanityFair)


"Retired 68-year-old US Army general and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley K. Clark has won yet another esteemed decoration — he is dating 30-year-old Shauna Mei, the founder of online retailer AHAlife.com. Clark, who was married to Gertrude Kingston Clark for 45 years before filing for divorce last year, is spending time with the young New York-based entrepreneur, who graduated from MIT and worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker before launching her luxury e-commerce site. Clark and Mei were spotted together recently in the Hamptons, prompting rumors of a relationship. We’re told that despite the 38-year age difference, they 'looked very affectionate, it was clear they were a couple. They were holding hands, they were not trying to hide their relationship' ... Clark and Mei were photographed together at the black-tie gala [photo, opposite page], where she wore a stunning deep red gown. But hours after we contacted them for comment, a picture of them together was mysteriously erased from the Web site of society photographer Patrick McMullan only to reappear again last night." (PageSix)



"G.W.: You have gone from Washington, D.C., senator’s wife and social doyenne to truly the 'Queen of All Media.' A.H.: I see it as this amazing journey with so many unexpected twists and turns, but when we launched The Huffington Post eight years ago, with all these hopes and ambitions, I never did expect it to become this juggernaut ... G.W.: Arianna, you have had this uncanny ability to adapt to gauge the Zeitgeist. You went from staunch Conservative and then you swung left of center when it suited you. A.H.: Not really. I was always pro–gay rights, pro-choice, and pro–gun control. What changed in my view was understanding the role of government; during my Republican years, I felt that the private sector would step up to the plate and help solve some of our social problems. Around 1990, I came to realize that we need the power of government to solve all these many issues." (VanityFair)

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