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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres










"When presidential popularity sags, the predictable calls begin: Off with their heads! The heads, of course, belong to key administrators and Cabinet officials who are perceived to have contributed to whatever woes are besetting the president.The calls come from both friends and foes of the White House. The friends want to satisfy and silence baying opponents with a pound of prominent flesh; the foes hope it’s just the first pound. President Obama has been resistant to dismissing any senior person. He refused to fire Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius during the disastrous Obamacare rollout (though Sebelius later resigned). Nor has he, as of this writing, dismissed Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, despite widespread problems in the VA that are ballooning into a damaging scandal . If Obama gave Shinseki his walking papers, it would be out of character for this president. Except for Gen. Stanley McChrystal, it is hard to think of any significant appointee shown the door during Obama’s first five years in office. (McChrystal was fired in June 2010 after his unflattering comments about the president surfaced in a Rolling Stone article.) Plenty of White House aides have cycled in and out, some perhaps nudged out the door, but 'no-drama Obama' clearly does not like to make headlines with splashy sackings. Is this a good or bad practice? Is a president better off 'demonstrating tough leadership' and 'holding people accountable' by dismissals, or should he stand behind his appointees? Naturally, it depends on the situation—and more than public opinion is involved. Maybe the chief executive has had an irreparable breach with an adviser or there is an unresolvable policy dispute. Better to send a Cabinet member packing than let a sore fester. The purely political questions are different, of course. What effect do firings have on public opinion? Does it help a president’s job approval when he shakes up his team? Is there a pattern in history that can be detected, at least since polling began?" (Larry Sabato)


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"In this post I present the most comprehensive analysis ever reported of the gender of New York Times writers (I think), with a sample of almost 30,000 articles.This subject has been in the news, with a good piece the other day by Liza Mundy — in the New York Times — who wrote on the media’s Woman Problem, prompted by the latest report from the Women’s Media Center. The WMC checked newspapers’ female byline representation from the last quarter of 2013, and found levels ranging from a low of 31% female at the NYT to a high of 46% at the Chicago Sun-Times. That’s a broad study that covers a lot of other media, and worth reading. But we can go deeper on the NYTimes, thanks to the awesome data collecting powers of my colleague Neal Caren.
Here are the results based on 21,440 articles published online from October 23, 2013 to February 25, 2014. 1. Women were the first author on 34% of the articles. This is a little higher than the WMC got with their A-section analysis, which is not surprising given the distribution of writers across sections.2. Women wrote the majority of stories in five out of 21 major sections, from Fashion (52% women), to Dining, Home, Travel, and Health (76% women). Those five sections account for 11% of the total.3. Men wrote the majority of stories in the seven largest sections. Two sections were more than three-fourths male (Sports, 89%; and Opinion, 76%). U.S., World, and Business were between 66% and 73% male. Here is the breakdown by section (see above)" (TheSocietyPages)


Walking Her Down


"So the wedding of my little girl to Andy Bancroft Cooke went off without a hitch, a wonderful ceremony in a beautiful Catholic church off Portman Square and even the weather played ball and gave us the most perfect spring day imaginable, cloudless and cool, Green Park at its most glorious as we drank outdoors in the long terrace and lunched in Spencer House, which pulled out all the stops ... Just before I flew back, I went to a Claus von Bülow lunch that was heartrending in its scant acquaintance with the modern world of hubris and egomania, self-absorption and self-promotion. John Julius Norwich and his Mollie, Claus’s daughter Cosima, the great Nicky Haslam, Annabel Goldsmith, and Melanie Vere-Nicoll, an American lady who is a keen polo player as is her hubby, whose two boys go to Yale, and whose daughter is at my old alma mater, University of Virginia.She had just been to Charlottesville to see her and I asked if the Honor system was still on. And how, she answered. Melanie gave a party next to my fraternity where everyone wore jackets and ties, everything was yes ma’am and yes sir, and not a single F-word was heard throughout a long evening of partying. That’s how it was when the poor little Greek boy was there five years ago—make that 57—which goes to show that the reason we have people like the Kardashians and James Stunt—he is Bernie Ecclestone’s son-in-law—and other such contemptible parasites and sleazeballs is not hard to figure out." (Taki)


Borderlands
 


"I arrived in Bucharest, Romania, the day after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will be here in a few weeks. The talk in Bucharest, not only among the leadership but also among the public, is about Ukraine. Concerns are palpable, and they are not only about the Russians. They are also about NATO, the European Union, the United States and whether they will all support Romania if it resists Russia. The other side of the equation, of course, is whether Romania will do the things it must do in order to make outside support effective. Biden left Romania with a sense that the United States is in the game. But this is not a region that trusts easily. The first step was easy. The rest become harder. If this little Cold War becomes significant, there are two European countries that matter the most: Poland and Romania. Poland, which I visit next, stands between Germany and Russia on the long, flat North European plain. Its population is about 38 million people. Romania, to the south, standing behind the Prut River and bisected by the Carpathian Mountains, has a population of about 20 million. Of the roughly 82 million people along the eastern frontier (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria), approximately 58 million live in Poland and Romania. Biden's visit to Romania and U.S. President Barack Obama's planned visit to Poland provide a sense of how Washington looks at the region and, for the moment at least, the world. How all of this plays out is, of course, dependent on the Russians and the course of the Ukrainian crisis." (STRATFOR)


Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos and Amy Astley


"On Wednesday, May 21st at Cipriani 42nd Street, El Museo del Barrio held its annual Gala. Over 500 dinner guests were greeted with the signature Cipriani Bellini, followed by dinner and welcoming remarks from Tony Bechara and Jorge Daniel Veneciano. Designer Alejandro Ingelmo was honored with the Artistic Achievement Award, Present by Teen Vogue's Editor in Chief, Amy Astley. Andy Unanue presented Maria Eugenia Maury and Dr. William A. Haseltine with the award, named in memory of his father, Joseph A. Unanue Trustee Leadership Award. The Gala Chair was CuCu Diamantes and the Gala Co-Chairs were Andrés Levin, Anita Durst, Lex Fenwick, and Cathy and Alex López Negrete." (NYSD)





"They’re at it again. Hamptons socialite Whitney St. John is being accused by her ex, James Fairchild, of surreptitiously squirreling away hundreds of thousands in jewelry rather than turning over the pricey baubles to a ­court-ordered estate sale in their bitter divorce battle.St. John and Fairchild’s possessions were sold over the weekend in a high-end Estates NY tag sale at their Bridgehampton marital home, which raked in $350,000 on its first day, sources said. The Memorial Day weekend sale included more than 200 paintings plus cars, minks and furniture, and was ordered after the couple couldn’t agree on dividing up their possessions. But St. John, who objected to the court-ordered sale, is being accused of holding back baubles valued at up to $300,000 retail, and Fairchild could seek to hold her in contempt. 'Whitney refused to hand over the jewelry for the sale,' a source sniffed, adding the sale would’ve reached $750,000 if it had included the jewelry.The couple’s been in an ongoing battle over a small fortune in jewelry they’d bought together to launch a high-end Hamptons store before their 2011 divorce case." (P6)

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