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Monday, April 14, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waves to the crowd after delivering remarks at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries conference on April 10, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Getty
Clinton is continuing to keep a remarkably low political profile.


"She’s one of the most sought-after surrogates of a party that can use all the help it can get in the midterms. But for reasons both personal and strategic, Hillary Clinton, potential Democratic 2016 standard-bearer, has largely resisted the tug of electoral politics — and likely won’t hit the trail for Democratic candidates until the heat of election season this fall.More than a year removed from the State Department, Clinton is continuing to keep a remarkably low political — if not public — profile. She has remained in the news with a series of paid speeches, including one last week when she dodged a shoe hurled at her by an audience member. But when she campaigned for two friends last year — Terry McAuliffe in Virginia and Bill de Blasio in New York City — her aides made clear at the time those were exceptions. Clinton’s absence so far from an uphill election year for her party contrasts with the other Democrats who are openly eyeing presidential bids in 2016, Vice President Joe Biden and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. Both have telegraphed that they plan to become active surrogates for Democrats on the ballot this year, though they have a lot more to gain politically than Clinton.Campaign and party committee officials would love Clinton’s help whenever it comes but point out that Bill Clinton has begun campaigning and raising money for a number of Democrats running this year. Since his poll numbers remain high and the two are seen as a single entity, and people view him as tending to the family’s political business, Hillary Clinton gets credit for that.
Sources close to the former first lady say she’s likely to campaign in some capacity for Democrats in the run-up to the election, when they believe her involvement would pack the most punch. Her main focus in recent months has been on finishing her latest book about her time as secretary of state, which is due out June 10. A lengthy book tour is expected to follow, marking an intense period leading up to the midterms that could provide clues to Clinton’s thinking about another national campaign. 'I didn’t actually ask her; she told me,' Raymond Buckley, the New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman, said in an interview. He recounted what Clinton said in December were her plans for this year: ''I’m going to finish my book, then I’ve got the book tour.’" (Politico)


U.S. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) listens during a news briefing after the weekly Senate Republican Policy Luncheon December 11, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. McConnell discussed various topics with the media including the fiscal cliff issue saying "time is running out."


"The most recent forecast by Fivethirtyeight gives Republicans a sixty percent chance of winning a majority of the Senate in November’s elections. Given that any bill already has to pass the Republican-controlled House, the effect of a Republican Senate upon President Obama’s legislative agenda can be calculated at zero, with a margin of error of zero. You can’t kill something that is already dead.On the other hand, what is currently alive, albeit barely, is a fragile peace that has enabled the functioning of the traditional separation-of-powers relationship between the branches of government. The survival of that peace depends entirely on a Democratic Senate. Almost nobody seems to be thinking about the potential chaos that could lie ahead.The Constitutional crises of 2013 were numerous enough to blur together. The most easily resolved took place when Senate Republicans began wholesale barricading of various judicial and executive branch appointments by the Obama administration. Previously, the Senate tended to block candidates in rare and particular circumstances — say, if they were unusually radical or unqualified, or sometimes in response to a particularly bitter fight over a previous candidate. Last year, Senate Republicans declared they simply would not allow any Obama nominees for various positions in the executive branch whose functioning (like enforcing labor law or regulating Wall Street) they did not care for. They likewise announced that they would not permit any new judges to the powerful D.C. Circuit because the court was balanced between the two parties and Republicans wanted to keep it that way. This escalation amounted to a major revision of the balance of powers — if it held, a hostile Senate could paralyze any agency it desired, or prevent a president from appointing anybody to the federal bench.Senate Democrats resolved the standoff by changing the Senate’s rules to ban filibusters for executive branch nominees and federal judges. This was the 'nuclear option' — a dreaded unilateral alteration of the chamber’s rules. Republicans and respectable centrist observers alike predicted the nuclear option would unleash terrible and indescribable consequences. The nuclear option turned out to defuse the conflict. Obama has gone ahead filling administrative and judicial appointments, none of them especially offensive to the Republican minority, and the crisis dissipated, as if into thin air." (Jonathan Chait)





"Twenty-five years after Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses, Vanity Fair writer Paul Elie hears from Rushdie himself and authors including Stephen King, Ian McEwan, E. L. Doctorow, Gay Talese, and Martin Amis, as well as editors from Viking and Penguin, the book’s respective U.K. and American publishers, about how the prophetic and provocative book made its author a hunted man and unleashed a fury around the world. Bombs exploded in bookshops in the U.S. and the U.K.; the book’s Japanese translator was shot and killed, its Italian translator was stabbed, its Turkish translator was attacked, its Norwegian publisher was shot, and two clerics in Saudi Arabia and Tunisia who spoke out against the fatwa were shot and killed. In total, Elie writes, more than 60 people died in the controversy.Stephen King went so far as to intervene on Rushdie’s behalf when a number of bookstores in the U.S. announced plans not to sell the book or to remove it from their shelves. At the behest of two Viking editors, King called the chief of bookstore chain B. Dalton and gave him an ultimatum: 'You don’t sell The Satanic Verses, you don’t sell Stephen King.' The store reversed course. 'You can’t let intimidation stop books,' King now says, recalling the episode. 'It’s as basic as that. Books are life itself.' Martin Amis tells Elie that Prince Charles refused to support the British-Indian Rushdie. 'I had an argument with Prince Charles at a small dinner party,' Amis recollects. 'He said—very typically, it seems to me—‘I’m sorry, but if someone insults someone else’s deepest convictions, well then,’ blah blah blah . . . And I said that a novel doesn’t set out to insult anyone. ‘It sets out to give pleasure to its readers,’ I told him. ‘A novel is an essentially playful undertaking, and this is an exceedingly playful novel.’ The Prince took it on board, but I’d suppose the next night at a different party he would have said the same thing.' Ian McEwan recalls the fear that pervaded time spent with Rushdie, including a dinner party at McEwan’s Gloucestershire cottage. 'I remember standing the next morning with Salman in the country kitchen, a gray English morning, and he was the lead item on the BBC—another Middle East figure saying he too would condemn him to death. It was a very sad moment—standing buttering toast and listening to that awful message on the radio.' For his part, Rushdie recalls that a number of prominent authors surrounded him with support." (VanityFair)





"I was always obsessed with adventure. Which is exactly how I would eventually find my way to glorious Key West. But I wouldn’t figure that out for many years. When I was 19 years old and filled with desire to unearth the meaning of life, I traveled around the world for six months by myself. While this sounds brave I never intended to travel alone. It would not have occurred to me to travel throug...h foreign lands all by my lonesome. When I flew out from NYC with my friend Gina and a couple of backpacks from the Salvation Army and a switchblade knife, we thought it would all be great fun and the goodbye party we threw for ourselves was riotous. When the backpacks rattled out on the luggage conveyor belt at Orly Airport their little metal legs were bent and all the straps were ripped off so that we could no longer wear them, but rather we had to drag them bumpily behind us like reluctant puppies. We should have heeded the omen. Instead, over the next couple of weeks we alit here and there through Europe and all the way to some Greek island (not the one we bought a ferry ticket for so we were tossed off the boat at the first port of call) we left a steaming hideous trail of squabbles. We fought about absolutely everything. Every day was a tangle of disagreements and sometimes my switchblade knife looked like a tempting solution. Thankfully Gina had a moped accident on this Greek island (I swear I did not push her). I stuffed her and her bloody knees into the surf to clean her gravel filled wounds, got her a bottle of wine to shut her the hell up, and made arrangements to ship her home. We had been poised to head east, to the start of the truly mysterious destinations, like Sri Lanka, a country I had never even heard of but I was ecstatic to see Gina go." (Christina Oxenberg)





"Last Thursday’s social calendar in New York looked something like this: The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s annual Spring Luncheon at the Pierre; the ASPCA’s annual Bergh Ball -- 'House of Paws' -- at the Plaza; the 29th Annual rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Barclays Center, Creel & Gow’s book party for international interior designer Nina Campbell; Jay Jeffers Collection Cool Book launch at a private residence; the French Heritage Society’s benefit concert and champagne reception at the Consulate General of France; The Public Art Fund’s 2014 Spring Benefit." (NYSD)

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