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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres








"Election Day 2014 is now almost exactly seven months away, which is both near and far.
On the one hand, more than half of the states — 29 of 50 — have passed their filing deadlines for major party candidates (the deadline in a 30th, Tennessee, is today). The late entries of Rep. Cory Gardner (R, CO-4) and ex-Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) into, respectively, the Colorado and New Hampshire Senate races are probably the last major candidate announcements we’re going to see this cycle, barring a late retirement or other big surprise. So the playing field is basically set.
On the other hand, the specific players in the game are not set. Just two states — Illinois and Texas — have held their primaries. After the District of Columbia voted on Tuesday, there isn’t another primary until May 6. Candidate selection, particularly for Republicans in places like Georgia, Iowa and North Carolina, could be a decisive factor in the battle for the Senate.So with the caveat that plenty can change, we know enough about the political environment, fundamentals, candidates and other factors that will impact 2014 to offer a new Crystal Ball feature this week: Narrow ranges of what we expect will be the net partisan changes in the makeup of the Senate, House and roster of governors ... A few weeks ago, we wrote that the 10 Senate seats likeliest to change parties were controlled by Democrats. That analysis pre-dated, by mere hours, the entry of Scott Brown into the New Hampshire Senate race against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). So now, the 11 Senate seats likeliest to flip are controlled by Democrats.That might make our outlook for the Senate, a net gain of four to eight seats for the Republicans, seem almost too low, given what we know about the map (seven vulnerable Democratic seats are in states that Mitt Romney won in 2012). But here’s our thinking:Our ratings show four Democratic-held Senate seats at least leaning to the Republicans (Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia). Are these races guaranteed for the Republicans? No, though two, South Dakota and West Virginia, are looking very good for them. But it seems conservatively reasonable that the GOP will win at least three of the four aforementioned Democratic seats we currently at least lean their way, and then at least one of the three toss-ups, all of which have Democratic incumbents (Alaska, Louisiana and North Carolina). That forms the low end of our range, four, which also assumes that the Republicans don’t kick away one or more of the seats they already hold, such as Georgia.The high end would involve the GOP winning all seven of the aforementioned seats along with one other Democratic-held seat. At this point, the likeliest one might be Iowa, which we still call Leans Democratic — ever so tentatively with recent developments. The Hawkeye seat is now winnable for the GOP, but Republicans need to nominate the right candidate, which would probably be either state Sen. Joni Ernst (whose ad you might’ve seen recently) or businessman Mark Jacobs." (CenterforPolitics)


Stars flock to NY Observer’s redesign party

"It was morning TV show reunion at the New York Observer’s New Look party Tuesday night to celebrate the newspaper’s redesign. 'Today' co-host Matt Lauer posed for pics with former co-host Katie Couric as 'GMA’s' Lara Spencer chatted nearby at the fete, which was thrown at Casa Lever Restaurant on Park Ave. Also seen at the party were Observer editor Ken Kurson; his publisher Jared Kushner with wife Ivanka Trump; Donald Trump; Ray Kelly; Matt Harvey; Beth Stern; Peggy Siegal; Regis Philbin; Scott Lipps; Wendi Deng and James Rothschild and girlfriend Nicky Hilton." (NYDN)


Gugu Mbatha-Raw, star of the upcoming ‘Belle,’ is getting major attention in the film biz.


"An upper crust crowd descended on La Grenouille on Wednesday to toast Fox Searchlight’s “Belle” before the film later screened for the United Nations. The luncheon was hosted by British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, W magazine editor Stefano Tonchi, Dr. Amanda Foreman, NBC’s Tamron Hall and Planned Parenthood president Faye Wattleton. Star Gugu Mbatha-Raw told us of the period drama inspired by the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate, mixed-race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay: 'I had always dreamed of doing a period drama, but . . . the corset did take a little bit of getting used to.'  Guests included Tamara Mellon, Lisa Immordino Vreeland and Euan Rellie." (P6)


Begley_Updike


"John Updike died of stage four lung cancer early on a Tuesday morning in 2009. At 1 p.m., the critic Adam Begley had a call from his boss at the New York Observer, Peter Kaplan: He had three hours to write an obituary. Mr. Begley appreciated Updike’s early stories, which were published in 2003, but he was hardly a devoted fan. He’d interviewed him twice. He’d reviewed 2004‘s Villages negatively, and was decidedly mixed about Updike’s post-9/11 novel, Terrorist. He managed to crash the piece from his home in England: 'His best subject was John Updike,' Mr. Begley wrote. 'The early novels…[t]hose alone would count as an honorable life’s work for many a writer.' Later that week, Tim Duggan at HarperCollins asked Mr. Begley if he wanted to be Updike’s biographer.Things went slower from there. The first year was spent mostly reading. Mr. Begley had access to Updike’s archive of 'first drafts and false starts and galley proofs,' which was purchased by Harvard nine months after Updike’s death, but the author’s personal correspondence was trickier. In a recent phone conversation, Mr. Begley told me that Updike was most himself in his letters to his editor at The New Yorker, William Maxwell. But much of Updike’s personal correspondence was blocked off, as the estate officially did not cooperate with Mr. Begley. (Updike’s children participated as individuals, though, as did his first wife, Mary, whom he divorced in 1974; Martha Updike, the author’s second wife, controls the copyright on all unpublished material, along with one of the four Updike children, all from his first marriage, on a rotating basis.)Updike the man—clumsy, at times unremarkable—emerges predominantly through a discussion of his fiction, for which he dutifully mined his life. He forgot to kiss the bride at his first wedding. He rarely drank and avoided drugs. He was plagued by his deep love for an overbearing mother. He was a poor family man. Even the arc of his career was marked by a strange blandness." (Observer)




"It was Wednesday, you know the drill for me (if you care): It was Michael’s. I go there for the fun of it – seeing the characters on that rialto and maybe catching an idea or a story, or something that I can report on about this life in little old New York. There’s always something and sometimes more, not to mention an excellent lunch.I was at the big roundtable in the bay with all of these girls, photographed by Steve Millington, Michael’s GM. The place was a racket of chat filling the room, and the energy was Up.I was hosting a luncheon for Holly Peterson to fete the publication of her new book/second novel 'The Idea of Him.' Holly is a savvy New York girl who not only needs but knows how to get the word out. She asked me if I’d invite some friends to lunch where she could introduce her novel. So I invited ten very smart New York women that I’ve known for a long time. There were twelve at table including me and Holly. I had no idea what it would be like. By which I mean: you ask someone to give their time and you wonder if you can make it worth their while. None of these women knew all of the others at table. Although they were all only one degree of separation away, even without me. I didn’t know how or what I should prepare. I’m not good at giving much advance thought to that stuff. I did think about seating. I asked a friend who suggested that I put a conversational type next to a quieter type, etc. But then it occurred to me that everyone I invited is a conversational type. That’s how and why I know them as well as I do.This list: Nina Griscom (who just returned from Uganda where she went on safari to visit the gorillas); Rikki Klieman (aka Mrs. Bill Bratton); Muffie Potter Aston; Daisy Soros, who just returned from Jamaica .." (NYSD)

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