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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres






"The resounding gains made by the anti-EU parties in last week's European parliamentary elections have alerted Europe's mainstream leadership to its fundamentally precarious position. This is a warning Stratfor sounded more than two years ago, when we predicted the rise of the far right and cautioned that these fringe groups should not be underestimated, precisely because they were tapping into very real and deepening sentiments that emerged from the economic and social malaise that has developed since 2008. The highest levels of European leadership are finally and unequivocally feeling the political consequences of years of unemployment and stagnating growth across much of the continent. The dismal election results for many of the mainstream European parties (particularly in France, Spain and the United Kingdom) overshadowed the small but much-lauded gross domestic product growth figures for the year to date that dominated headlines until last week. The current European leadership sees the rapid rise of Euroskeptical parties as an existential threat to the postwar order in Europe. This is not only because of old specters of Europe's bloody nationalist past, but also because the economic and financial stability of the continent has been rigged (sometimes haphazardly) around the open market and common currency that these Euroskeptical parties want to recuse." (STRATFOR)





"Only two Democratic presidents have been reelected since World War II, Bill Clinton in 1996 and Barack Obama in 2012. When comparing the prowess of the two as vote-getters, each had their advantages. Obama was reelected with far more votes than Clinton 16 years earlier and drew a higher share of the total vote. But Clinton was involved in a three-way race of sorts, as third-party candidates led by Ross Perot took 10% of the vote. As a result, Clinton actually scored a wider victory in 1996 than Obama two years ago in terms of margin of victory (in both votes and percentage points); electoral votes; states won; and congressional districts and counties carried ...
The separate pulling power of the nation’s two most prominent Democrats has already been on display in Kentucky, where Clinton made his first campaign foray of 2014 in February on behalf of the Democratic Senate candidate, Alison Lundergan Grimes. She is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) in a contest that has drawn considerable national attention.
Clinton turned out to be a good draw. He carried the Bluegrass State twice for president, the last Democratic nominee to do so; Obama lost it twice by margins in excess of 15 percentage points.
During her appearance with the former president, Grimes lauded the Clinton presidency for creating prosperity, but according to news reports, did not mention Obama once. Apparently, that is fine with the White House. Clinton is better positioned to help Democratic candidates in states such as Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana and West Virginia than Obama is. Yet as the year unfolds, Obama could probably be of assistance to embattled Democrats in states and districts where there is a large minority or youth vote, elements of the electorate in which Obama has run particularly well. In Charlottesville, for instance, the home of the University of Virginia (as well as the Crystal Ball), Clinton never drew more than 62% of the vote in his two presidential bids, while Obama never won less than 75%. Both Democrats have experienced the damage that can be done to the president’s party in a midterm election. In Clinton’s first midterm in 1994, Democrats lost both the House and the Senate and never regained either chamber during his presidency. In Obama’s first midterm in 2010, Democrats lost the House, making his ability to govern difficult. And the Democrats are again playing defense this year — trying to hold the Senate with little chance of regaining the House.
Clinton, at least, was able to enjoy the leavening impact of a favorable midterm election in 1998, when the president’s party bucked the historical trend to actually gain seats in the House. An improved economy and the widespread perception of Republican overreach in pushing Clinton’s impeachment played major roles in the outcome. Obama has not experienced such a midterm comeback, nor do many expect him to in 2014. Instead, he has taken on the role of a Cassandra of sorts, urging Democrats to turn out in larger than anticipated numbers this fall or experience the dire consequences that he predicts would come from a robust Republican Party in control of Capitol Hill." (SabatosCrystalBall)








"As you may have seen from our May ratings posts, the cable news channels are seeing double digits drops in their audience. Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and HLN are all down, year-over-year.
So where did the viewers go? A few possible explanations: May is a big month for broadcast TV; there was not a big news story driving viewership; despite being a mid-term election year, there are few compelling political stories; second, third screens; Netflix. Another explanation for viewers still tuned in to cable is the continued growth of reality, non-scripted and documentary TV on channels like History, Discovery, HGTV, and even the new channel AHC, or American Heroes Channel. Formerly known as Military Channel and before that Discovery Wings, for the first three months under its new name, AHC is posting double digit year-over-year growth. With series like 'Myth Hunters' and mini-series like 'Nazis: An Evolution of Evil,' the network was up +15% in primetime, and up +25% in total day, total viewers. Another channel, Science, with shows like 'Outrageous Acts of Science' and 'Survivorman: Bigfoot,' is up +20% in primetime and up +4% in total day, total viewers. Both networks rank lower than the cable news channels, but they’re growing." (TVNewser)







"On Saturday, May 24th, ARF kicked off the Memorial Day weekend with the 4th Annual Designer Showhouse at the ARF Thrift Shop in Sagaponack, chaired by Gordon Hoppe, Gigi Mahon and Sandra McConnell. Vice-Chairs included Peter Hallock and Lisa McCarthy, with Fern Mallis as Honorary Chair. The shop was transformed into six rooms styled by some of New York’s most illustrious interior decorators. Each room incorporated ARF Thrift Shop items as well as pieces donated from the designers own collections. Rooms ranged from a peek into the 'Captain’s Cabin' to an 'All About Eve' room inspired by the birthday party Margo Channing (Bette Davis) threw for her boyfriend. Guests enjoyed wine donated by Channing Daughters Winery, vodka donated by Alpha Noble Vodka and hors d’oeuvres donated by the Dancing Gourmet as they mingled and shopped among the themed rooms. Designers included John Bjørnen, Suzanne Caldwell and Maria Greenlaw, Byron C. James, Zoe Hoare and Chris Mead, Scott Sanders and Rod Winterrowd." (NYSD)

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