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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres






"We are making many changes to the Crystal Ball’s U.S. House ratings, but the overall picture in the People’s House remains quite clear:  Neither Republicans nor Democrats are positioned to make major gains in the House next year. Republicans are slightly likelier to net a tiny gain than Democrats are. Ergo, the Republican majority in the House appears secure.  To review: Republicans currently hold a 233-200 seat edge in the House, with two vacancies soon to be filled in special elections (a super-safe Republican seat in Alabama, and a super-safe Democratic seat in Massachusetts). Additionally, Rep. Rodney Alexander (R, LA-5) is slated to resign next week (leaving another safe Republican seat behind). All told, Democrats need to net 17 seats to win a majority, which is quite a heavy lift.  All that gloomy news for Democrats aside, there is at least one positive for them in this new set of ratings: For the first time this cycle, we’ve made an incumbent member of the House an underdog, and he’s a Republican: Rep. Gary Miller (CA-31). Miller won a fluky election in 2012 because California’s new jungle primary system produced a general election between two Republicans in a district where President Obama won 57% of the vote. Even though there is a crowded primary on the Democratic side, Miller is likely to be the only Republican to advance to the general election. We believe his eventual opponent will be favored.  But after that, pickings get slimmer for the Democrats. First, take a look at Chart 1, which shows our House ratings changes" (Sabato)


" 'The French statesman Talleyrand’s advice to his diplomats, 'Above all, not too much zeal,' would have been well observed in the Federal Office of Justice in Berne, Switzerland, one day in late September 2009. That day, an official received a call from a police station in Zurich. As the Swiss journalist Daniel Binswanger reconstructed it, a duty officer had read in a newspaper that the Polish film director Roman Polanski was about to receive a lifetime-achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival. The newspaper also mentioned Polanski’s outstanding charge in the United States of unlawful sex with a minor 32 years earlier. 'He put Polanski into the Interpol system, and bingo, there’s an international arrest warrant. So he does the right thing. He knows it’s not for them to decide; it has international implications, so he calls Berne. Now, in Berne they do an incredible thing. They ask Washington if they really want Polanski. And that’s where they created the disaster.' (The Swiss authorities maintain that Polanski’s arrest followed an extradition request from the U.S. Department of Justice.) Polanski, now 80, pleaded guilty in California in 1977 and was sent to the California Institution for Men, in Chino, for a 90-day evaluation, which he was told by Judge Laurence J. Rittenband would constitute his full punishment. When Polanski was released after 42 days, however, the judge said he intended to impose an additional, 'indeterminate' sentence on the director, under a penal code that technically allowed anything up to 50 years. Before he could do so, Polanski, who had his passport and was not on bail, flew to his home in Paris. A bench warrant has been out for his arrest ever since. Because the judge had acted on a judicial promise when he sent him to Chino, Polanski was never officially sentenced, and that is the crux of the case. Threatened with disqualification for serial misconduct, Rittenband resigned from the case before he could sentence Polanski in absentia. Polanski lives in France, as a French-born citizen, and by French law is exempt from extradition." (VanityFair)


"It was Wednesday. I went to Michaels. It was busy, although quieter than the railroad station din and cacophony on some Wednesdays. Don’t get me wrong; I love it. You feel like you’re in the thick of it. Whatever that is.I had lunch with my friend Jesse Kornbluth (who writes HeadButler.com daily). He writes another column on the web also. In fact Jesse reads and writes more than anyone I know. He’s always at it which is authentically awesome. Therefore, there is always something to learn. Our conversations, however, are totally back and forth, and constantly being returned to the main subject after the distraction of some theretofore unknown fact or piece of information that appeared in the conversation.Jesse, who has just finished a novel, has been at it for a long time in New York, having written some of the most memorable profiles in both New York and Vanity Fair. He’s been at it as a professional writer a lot longer than I (and he’s younger too). He has an excellent  sense of humor, alert to the ironies that pace our life stories. He is as well as the gilded possessor of  fascinating observations and anecdotal tales (sometimes known as good gossip) about many of the names that are familiar to us. Particularly in the world of what is called Media – which is practically everybody these days.  I also learned yesterday that Jesse regularly, even frequently posts on Facebook. It is always an opinion couched in something literary. I asked him why he did this. He said it was because it was a great opportunity to comment on the current state of things (and/or people) and when people find something they like, they re-posted it. The writer writes for readers" (NYSocialDiary)


"In the basement of Galerie Perrotin, a powerhouse gallery from Paris that opened in New York on Tuesday night, a dollar bill shot out of a towering blue box and drifted onto a floor littered with bills and coins. A sign explained the work by Paola Pivi, an Italian artist: 'Caution: Money is spit out everywhere. It seemed appropriate given today’s art market, not to mention the throngs of well-heeled collectors who came to inspect the city’s newest mega-luxe gallery, which occupies a four-story landmark at the corner of East 73rd Street and Madison Avenue.'The whole neighborhood is a money machine,' said Ingrid Sischy, the Vanity Fair contributor. Art world wheeler-dealers like Peter Brant, Simon de Pury, Jeffrey Deitch, Mike Ovitz, Beth Rudin DeWoody and Knight Landesman mingled on the first floor, under Ms. Pivi’s life-size garishly colorful polar bear sculptures ... 'The art world is the new music world,' said Swizz Beatz, the musician and artist, who wore sunglasses and a black T-shirt by YSL. He greeted Pharrell Williams, the writer of the summer’s two biggest dance hits, 'Get Lucky' by Daft Punk and 'Blurred Lines' by Robin Thicke." (NYTimes)



""Who will be the next member of New York’s media elite to join the FORBES 400, our list of the richest Americans? A few months ago, the obvious answer would have been David Karp, whose social blogging startup, Tumblr, was worth $800 million and rising. But the sale of Tumblr to Yahoo YHOO +1.12% for $1.1 billion last May left Karp with a little less than $200 million — no paltry sum, to be sure, but well below the $1.3 billion in net worth it took to get onto this year’s list.  In any case, he’s been lapped. When Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox invested $70 million in Vice Media in return for a 5% stake, it set the value of the company at $1.4 billion. That makes Vice CEO Shane Smith worth about $400 million, by our estimate.A bootstrapped indie magazine from Montreal that for years had no outside investors, Vice is now based in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, makes most of its $175 million in annual revenues from online video and event sponsorships, and is backed by Fox, WPP WPPGY -2.05%, the Raine Group and former Viacom VIAB +0.36% CEO Tom Freston. But Vice’s senior management still holds about 75% of the equity. Of that, Smith, who was one of three co-founders, controls the largest chunk.  I profiled Smith in December 2011, as it became clear Vice would soon be worth $1 billion or more. He told me the idea of a big cash-out didn’t hold much interest for him.'At this point, I don’t give a shit about money,” he said. 'I’m worth more money than I can ever spend. The best piece of advice I ever got from anyone was when Spike Jonze said take money out of the equation. And that’s actually when Vice started making lots of money. That’s when I stopped worrying about money and started worrying about what I wanted to do.'" (Forbes)



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