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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres






"If you want to know what someone’s views of society are, ask what they believe is the best long-term investment.  I am fascinated each year when Gallup Poll asks Americans to choose the best option among real estate, stocks and mutual funds, gold, savings accounts and CDs, or bonds. The results are a pop psychologist’s dream of cognitive issues, belief systems and ideologies.
Now, before we get into the details, some caveats: First, people often don’t really know what they want or think. Instead, when questioning people about their hopes and desires, we end up with a distorted mass-media version of a bad Robin Leach television series. Sad but true, often we don't know what we want out of life. Second, survey responses are not all they appear to be. There is value in the collective data, but we need to dive into the details to tease out some fascinating cultural differences. Note what happens when we divide the survey responses along income lines. We discover some very telling things about the American psyche. Consider the differences between what the wealthy and poor believe is the best long-term investment .." (Bloomberg)

Walmart heiress’ prenup overshadowed by lawsuit


"Walmart heiress Paige Laurie Dubbert is done with husband Patrick Bode Dubbert, but it’s going to cost her a pretty penny to be rid of him. Paige — whose mother, Natalie Walton Laurie, and aunt Anne Walton Kroenke inherited a multibillion-dollar fortune when their father, Bud Walton, died — recently filed for divorce from her husband of five years, reports TMZ. Shortly after she filed for divorce, Paige also filed a civil lawsuit against her soon-to-be-former husband, according to a later report by the website. The suit accuses Patrick of funneling huge money out of a business — a retail center in Malibu, Calif., that Paige financed. Allegedly, Patrick hired a friend to co-manage the project. The duo then named themselves general contractors on the project — positions they were completely unqualified for — in order to up their monthly pay (from $15,000 to $75,000). All of this on top of the $250,000 a year Patrick was already being paid to monitor the project." (P6)





"Kyo, not his real name, is a young black man in his mid-20s currently living in transitional housing for the homeless in Northern New Jersey. I have known him since he was 18. I had met Kyo during my former job as a reporter with The Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s largest newspaper. Kyo was placed in the foster care system as a toddler. His mother was dead of a drug overdose, and his father was a long-time drug addict until he became clean several years ago. Kyo does not have a close relationship with his father, but has kept regular contact with his siblings, one younger brother and two older sisters. In the system, he had stayed at several places including a good orphanage, where he felt taken care of, and the home of an abusive couple who would make him and their other charges stand for hours on end as a form of punishment. He had bounced between several schools over the years as well, but he did manage to graduate with a high school diploma. When I first met Kyo, a Newark native, I was immediately struck by his demeanor. He was simply the coolest teenager I had come across in a long while. He had a mature, perceptive air. I took to him because he reminded me of my younger self. Fellow geeks, we bonded over our love of manga, anime, and comics. He is a skilled artist and musically gifted as well. He can play the guitar and has a lovely voice. I kept in touch with him and we became good friends. Over the years, I have seen him age out of the system, move from job to job, couchsurf with friends, grapple with the emotional legacy of his upbringing, and basically survive hand to mouth. The last time I saw Kyo was a few weeks ago. He had left a friend’s apartment where he had stayed for a few weeks, and then slept over at my home for a night. Afterwards, he stayed at a homeless shelter for about a week. He just started a stint in transitional housing that will last for three months during which time he aims to find a job and get his own place to live. We talked about survival, the demons of depression, his views on government assistance, and hopes for the future." (Sharon Adarlo)





Jane Hansen and Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum.


"I went down to Michael’s to lunch with Bill Stubbs, the interior designer from Houston who was headed for a new Designers Conference in Argentina, which will attended by several Americans designers including Charlotte Moss. You might know him as William Stubbs, who hosts the PBS show 'A Moment  of Luxury.' I first met him when he was shooting his first show down in Palm Beach at the Brazilian Court Hotel where JH and I were staying while covering the Palm Beach Antique show ... Over 200 people attended the 16th annual Healthy Give and Take luncheon sponsored by the Auxiliary of NSLIJ- Lenox Hill Hospital. This year's luncheon was held at the Metropolitan Club with the theme 'A Healthy Give & Take Luncheon:  Relationships, Friendships and Intimacy:  The Mind/Body Connection.' Jane Hanson, the Emmy award winning broadcast journalist acted as moderator for the event. The topic focused on relationships and the affect they have on our minds and bodies. Just like Henry Jaglom’s new film 'The M Word,”'in a way." (NYSD)






"In June 1942, the bulk of the Japanese fleet sailed to seize the Island of Midway. Had Midway fallen, Pearl Harbor would have been at risk and U.S. submarines, unable to refuel at Midway, would have been much less effective. Most of all, the Japanese wanted to surprise the Americans and draw them into a naval battle they couldn't win. The Japanese fleet was vast. The Americans had two carriers intact in addition to one that was badly damaged. The United States had only one advantage: It had broken Japan's naval code and thus knew a great deal of the country's battle plan. In large part because of this cryptologic advantage, a handful of American ships devastated the Japanese fleet and changed the balance of power in the Pacific permanently. This -- and the advantage given to the allies by penetrating German codes -- taught the Americans about the centrality of communications code breaking. It is reasonable to argue that World War II would have ended much less satisfactorily for the United States had its military not broken German and Japanese codes. Where the Americans had previously been guided to a great extent by Henry Stimson's famous principle that 'gentlemen do not read each other's mail,' by the end of World War II they were obsessed with stealing and reading all relevant communications.The National Security Agency evolved out of various post-war organizations charged with this task. In 1951, all of these disparate efforts were organized under the NSA to capture and decrypt communications of other governments around the world -- particularly those of the Soviet Union, which was ruled by Josef Stalin, and of China, which the United States was fighting in 1951. How far the NSA could go in pursuing this was governed only by the extent to which such communications were electronic and the extent to which the NSA could intercept and decrypt them.The amount of communications other countries sent electronically surged after World War II yet represented only a fraction of their communications. Resources were limited, and given that the primary threat to the United States was posed by nation-states, the NSA focused on state communications. But the principle on which the NSA was founded has remained, and as the world has come to rely more heavily on electronic and digital communication, the scope of the NSA's commission has expanded. What drove all of this was Pearl Harbor." (STRATFOR)