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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres












Illustration of Tim Geither


"I arrive at the Bukhara Grill in Midtown Manhattan promptly at 11.30 on a bright Friday morning. The restaurant is empty and I am shown to a table in an alcove near the entrance, where I wait for my guest, Tim Geithner, former US Treasury secretary. We have arranged this early time in order to get long enough together before he needs to leave. Geithner has chosen the restaurant. He knows Indian food well, having lived there as a child for five years. I have known him since the mid-1990s, when he was a young civil servant working for Lawrence Summers at the US Treasury department. (Summers was himself Treasury secretary, in the last year and half of the Clinton administration.) Even then, Geithner was already the person his seniors expected to solve messes. The messes Geithner came to specialise in were financial crises. In the 1990s, he worked on the Mexican and Asian crises. As president of the New York Federal Reserve (2003 to January 2009) and then as President Barack Obama’s Treasury secretary (until January 2013), he was at the centre of efforts to cope with the financial crisis that hit the US in 2007 and reached its peak a year later. My own view is that the people, including Geithner, who dealt with this crisis made big mistakes but also saved the world from another Great Depression. Almost the only thing the left and right of US politics agree upon, however, is that the actions taken during the crisis were a crime and a folly. The reason for our lunch is the publication of Geithner’s book, Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises . It is his case for the defence." (FT)







"I began the evening down at Doubles, the private club in the Sherry-Netherland where Toni and Jim Goodale were holding a cocktail reception to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. The Goodales have family, grandchildren and loads of good friends and acquaintances. Jim Goodale, a lawyer, was chief counsel for, and represented the New York Times  in the 'Pentagon Papers' case, among many other matters for the newspaper. He and Toni are major supporters of many literary causes and ventures including PEN/America and The Paris Review. Jim has a CV that could lead you to believe he’s four people because he’s involved in so many organizations, projects, as well as published writer himself. His 'Fighting For the Press; the Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles,' published last year is an eye-opening report on how far we stray from the intentions of our Founding Fathers. That is putting it mildly. 'Fighting for the Press' is not an expose but a treatise on how we fool ourselves over and over. And a lesson for all of us, although God knows there are a lot of lousy students among us.Toni Goodale, besides bringing up a family and participating actively in a number of cultural, charitable and literary matters, also for years ran a prosperous consulting business for foundations and philanthropy. Both man and wife have long been active political supporters on a local, state and national level, and over the years have established themselves as leaders – mainly unrecognized – in the community that is New York. There were about 250 guests to fete this great couple and very successful marriage, with lots of familiar faces from media and what could generally be described as the so-called Liberal Establishment in New York." (NYSD)

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