blog advertising is good for you

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"A deal between Iran and the P-5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) was reached Saturday night. The Iranians agreed to certain limitations on their nuclear program while the P-5+1 agreed to remove certain economic sanctions. The next negotiation, scheduled for six months from now depending on both sides' adherence to the current agreement, will seek a more permanent resolution. The key players in this were the United States and Iran. The mere fact that the U.S. secretary of state would meet openly with the Iranian foreign minister would have been difficult to imagine a few months ago, and unthinkable at the beginning of the Islamic republic. The U.S. goal is to eliminate Iran's nuclear weapons before they are built, without the United States having to take military action to eliminate them. While it is commonly assumed that the United States could eliminate the Iranian nuclear program at will with airstrikes, as with most military actions, doing so would be more difficult and riskier than it might appear at first glance. The United States in effect has now traded a risky and unpredictable air campaign for some controls over the Iranian nuclear program. The Iranians' primary goal is regime preservation. While Tehran managed the Green Revolution in 2009 because the protesters lacked broad public support, Western sanctions have dramatically increased the economic pressure on Iran and have affected a wide swath of the Iranian public. It isn't clear that public unhappiness has reached a breaking point, but were the public to be facing years of economic dysfunction, the future would be unpredictable. The election of President Hassan Rouhani to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after the latter's two terms was a sign of unhappiness. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei clearly noted this, displaying a willingness to trade a nuclear program that had not yet produced a weapon for the elimination of some sanctions. The logic here suggests a process leading to the elimination of all sanctions in exchange for the supervision of Iran's nuclear activities to prevent it from developing a weapon. Unless this is an Iranian trick to somehow buy time to complete a weapon and test it, I would think that the deal could be done in six months. An Iranian ploy to create cover for building a weapon would also demand a reliable missile and a launch pad invisible to surveillance satellites and the CIA, National Security Agency, Mossad, MI6 and other intelligence agencies. The Iranians would likely fail at this, triggering airstrikes however risky they might be and putting Iran back where it started economically. While this is a possibility, the scenario is not likely when analyzed closely." (STRATFOR)




"The social calendar has quieted down for the upcoming holiday. Or sort of. Yesterday was the annual Tiffany Holiday Luncheon. The luncheon is given to editors from newspapers, magazines and web, a kind of thank you. They’ve been doing this since 1987. It is a very nice kind of thank you in the Tiffany style, in the executive dining room for about 50 guests. Michael J. Kowalski gives a brief speech just before lunch outlining Tiffany’s year just passing. Mr. Kowalski has been CEO of Tiffany for the past fourteen years (with the company for thirty). He’s a quiet-spoken man, focused and conscientious, the kind of person you’d like to have running your business. Every year I’ve attended this lunch, he has reported on the progress of the company in terms of its worldwide expansion, its sales and earnings growth, and its steady eye upon Tiffany’s reputation and product quality.In the course of his report, he explains also that the 'business' part is required in terms of a proper 'business' event. Nevertheless, it’s always interesting. I don’t have many personal dealings with Tiffany. It’s mainly business, as they do advertise on the NYSD and I have covered certain public events of theirs for many years. Dealing with Tiffany’s public relations staff is the same as everything else about the company: first rate, first class, and a pleasure. They are efficient, thorough and always very pleasant. In a town where are a lot of us are always in a rush and have a backpack of impatience to call on, this is an almost Zen relief." (NYSocialDiary)
 

"Is there anything better for Christmas than a bit of a laugh? Well, a visit by, say, the blonde CIA agent in Homeland would be preferable, but I think she’s got other things on her mind than yours truly. Great comebacks are my favorites. For example: When the great French actress Arletty was dragged into court and accused of giving comfort the French way to a German Luftwaffe officer, her only defense was, 'If you men hadn’t let them in so easily, I wouldn’t have slept with him.' She also added that her heart belongs to France, 'but my ass is international.' She was cheered and set free immediately ... A comeback as good as Voltaire’s—who some believe had thought of his comeback beforehand as he knew what the priest would ask him—was from John Wilkes, the brilliant orator and Parliamentarian when he was told by the Earl of Sandwich that he would die either in the gallows or by the pox. Wilkes never missed a beat: 'That depends, Sir, whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.' Robert Benchley, one of our greatest humorists, was also a famous lush. Emerging from a nightclub he saw the resplendent doorman in uniform and said, 'My good man, call me a taxi.' 'How dare you,' said a furious gentleman, 'I am a United States admiral.' 'Oh, in that case, call me a battleship.'" (Taki)

"Britain’s Prince Charles celebrated his 65th birthday at Buckingham Palace with a host of American guests — telling them of his joy of becoming a grandfather to Prince George. The Prince of Wales’s birthday dinner was hosted by London power couple Cyrus and Priya Vandrevala, international venture capitalists who moved to the British capital five years ago. Guests included Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer CEO Gary Barber, US society doyennes Mercedes Bass and Lynn Wyatt, Judith Giuliani along with two couples from Philadelphia, software entrepreneur Michael Sanchez and publicist wife Nancy Assuncao and Walt and Sue Buckley of Internet Capital Group. Charles mingled with guests over cocktails and discussed the importance of philanthropy, and a source said he described 'how he really enjoyed being a grandfather and how he wished he had grandchildren earlier. He said he was envious of his friends who already have many grandchildren.' Also there were Charles’ wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles, and Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames. We’re told Charles told his guests from Philadelphia how he liked the city and that he met with the late philanthropist Leonore Annenberg during a 2007 visit and was impressed with how she supported the arts. He added, 'The Americans really get it right with how philanthropic they are.'" (PageSix)



"A fast-approaching, divisive GOP primary has kick-started the sprint to a high-stakes 2014 House special election in Florida. As early as this week, officials are scheduled to send primary ballots to voters for the race to succeed the late Republican Rep. C.W. Bill Young in the highly competitive 13th District. Both GOP candidates, lobbyist David Jolly and state Rep. Kathleen Peters, are expected to campaign over the Thanksgiving holiday. But the Jan. 14 primary has already divided St. Petersburg-area GOP politicians, operatives and even members of Young’s family. Meanwhile, Democrats cleared the field for their likely nominee, Alex Sink. The future nominees will soon endure a deluge from national parties in this long-held GOP district that President Barack Obama won by 1 point last year. The Republican nominee, especially, will have a responsibility as the first candidate of the 2014 cycle to test-drive the GOP’s case against Obama and the implementation of his health care overhaul law. 'If you’d asked me right after the shutdown, I’d say this was a slam dunk for the Democrats, but as it looks now, I think it’s going to be a very, very competitive race because it will be very nationalized,' said former National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Davis of Virginia. 'And it will be the first time the voters can express themselves on the president and the Affordable Care Act [rollout].' In recent cycles, most high-profile GOP primaries have featured a fight between an established candidate and a tea-party-backed Republican. That’s not the case in this contest. Neither Peters nor Jolly fits the tea party mold, and the 13th District lacks an organized activist contingent. Also, Young served as a master appropriator in the region: Bringing federal money is part of politics there" (RollCall)



"The city of Los Angeles and its satellite communities like Manhattan Beach make up the celebrity mecca of the universe, and among all the hot stars and not-so-hot ones who can be spotted around here, the name does not quite register. Jordan Belfort? And Jordan Belfort is also a convict, one of a particularly loathed class—a white-collar crook who duped innocent investors to finance an insatiable greed. Belfort was convicted of scamming more than $100 million throughout the nineties to finance a hedonistic paradise. Stratton Oakmont, the firm he started, became a kind of cult. 'It should have been Sodom and Gomorrah,” Belfort would later write. 'After all, it wasn’t every firm that sported hookers in the basement, drug dealers in the parking lot, exotic animals in the boardroom, and midget-tossing competitions on Fridays.' Belfort’s background in finance was limited. After dropping out of dental school, he sold frozen lobsters and steaks door-to-door; one of his first experiences in sales came from hawking ices as a kid. He proved to be a great talker and fearless mimic, modeling himself after his hero, Gordon Gekko, the ruthless corporate raider in Wall Street, a favorite film, and assumed what he called 'a devilish alter ego.' It was a truly epic scam, in which he used his powers of persuasion to screw investors and then train a small army to do the screwing for him. But eventually, Belfort sank his own empire. He spent some of his fortune on megamansions, only to have the government seize them. He purchased his own helicopter, only to almost crash it on his front lawn while flying it stoned. He owned a 166-foot yacht built for Coco Chanel, only to tell the captain to steer it into a storm and nearly kill himself, his friends, and his crew before the ship sank in the Mediterranean. Even with the hundreds of prostitutes he claimed to have hired, Belfort struggled to perform. He was taking so many drugs that his penis, as he writes, had taken the form of a 'No. 2 pencil eraser.' It was in prison that Belfort discovered his talents were transferable. His cube mate, or 'cubie' (at his facility, there were no cells), was Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong fame. Chong laughed so hard at Belfort’s stories he pushed Belfort to write them down and get them published. Employing the same zeal that made him a financial-industry tycoon, Belfort set out to become a writer. In prison, he studied Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities, taking notes on character development, dialogue, tone. He then applied the Wolfean techniques to his own tales, writing two memoirs that detail his quest for fortune and approval. And, now as then, people cannot get enough of Jordan Belfort. He’s using the same skills, working the same stories, only this time, the gig is entirely legal. His ruthless rise and self-destructive fall was ripe for a big Hollywood production. Leonardo DiCaprio signed on to play Belfort, with Martin Scorsese directing." (NYMag)

No comments: