blog advertising is good for you

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

                                    










"In recent weeks, some of the international system's unfinished business has revealed itself. We have seen that Ukraine's fate is not yet settled, and with that, neither is Russia's relationship with the European Peninsula. In Iraq we learned that the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the creation of a new Iraqi political system did not answer the question of how the three parts of Iraq can live together. Geopolitical situations rarely resolve themselves neatly or permanently. These events, in the end, pose a difficult question for the United States. For the past 13 years, the United States has been engaged in extensive, multidivisional warfare in two major theaters -- and several minor ones -- in the Islamic world. The United States is large and powerful enough to endure such extended conflicts, but given that neither conflict ended satisfactorily, the desire to raise the threshold for military involvement makes logical sense. U.S. President Barack Obama's speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point sought to raise the bar for military action ... Given events in Ukraine and Iraq, the president's definition of a 'nail' in relation to the U.S. military 'hammer' becomes important. Military operations that cannot succeed, or can succeed only with such exorbitant effort that they exhaust the combatant, are irrational. Therefore, the first measure of any current strategy in either Ukraine or Iraq is its sheer plausibility. In Ukraine, a pro-Russian president was replaced by a pro-Western one. The Russians took formal control of Crimea, where they had always had overwhelming military power by treaty with Ukraine. Pro-Russian groups, apparently supported by Russians, still fight for control in Ukraine's two easternmost provinces. On the surface, the Russians have suffered a reversal in Ukraine. Whether this is truly a reversal will depend on whether the authorities in Kiev are able to rule Ukraine, which means not only forming a coherent government but also enforcing its will. The Russian strategy is to use energy, finance and overt and covert relationships to undermine the Ukrainian government and usurp its power. It is in the interest of the United States that a pro-Western Ukraine emerges, but that interest is not overwhelming enough to warrant a U.S. military intervention. There is no alliance structure in place to support such an intervention, no military bases where forces have accumulated to carry this out, and no matter how weakened Russia is, the United States would be advancing into a vast country whose occupation and administration -- even if possible -- would be an overwhelming task. The Americans would be fighting far from home, but the Russians would be fighting in their backyard. Ukraine is not a nail to be hammered. First, its fate is not of fundamental American interest. Second, it cannot be driven into the board. The United States must adopt an indirect strategy." (STRATFOR)


                                


"The return to preeminence of the Clintons was supposed to signify a renewed economic populism that would define the Democratic Party. It was, after all, Hillary Clinton who quaffed beers with white working-class Democrats in her 2008 campaign against the abstract, yuppified idealism of Barack Obama. And it was Bill Clinton who, in a 2012 Democratic National Convention speech, folksily explained the party’s economic philosophy more concretely than Obama himself had ever managed. And yet, in the wake of a stream of disclosures and clumsy statements, the class narrative has turned sharply against the Clintons. The Arkansas populists find themselves rendered as plutocrats. Democrats are fretting ('It’s going to be a massive issue for her,' an Obama adviser tells Phillip Rucker') and Republicans are gleefully hurling the sort of hurling the Romney-car-elevator abuse that they so miserably endured. How has Hillary Clinton been suddenly transformed into Marie Antoinette? The new narrative, like most political narrative, is an amorphous mix of fact, pseudo-fact, spin, and self-fulfilling prophecy ... Reporters have widely portrayed this as Clinton distinguishing her income from “people who are truly well off.' That isn’t quite right. Her comments, while slightly garbled, seemed to be defining 'the problem' not as high income but as special tax breaks enjoyed by the rich. She was separating herself from wealthy tax-dodgers, not the wealthy writ large. Likewise, the fact that the Clintons engaged in estate planning, which also led to a mini-wave of scandalized reporting and commentary, is not a scandal, either. Clinton favors the estate tax, which is not the same thing as believing people should individually pay more taxes than they owe the government." (Jonathan Chait)








Chris McDaniel, left, shakes a supporter's hand at a rally. | AP Photo













"Don’t breathe that sigh of relief just yet, Mississippi. As the tumultuous fight for Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat in Washington hurtles toward a close on Tuesday, this bitter reality has started to dawn on Republicans here: The larger battle for power within the Mississippi Republican coalition is only just beginning. In this deeply Republican, nearly one-party state, the race between Cochran and conservative challenger Chris McDaniel has torn open long-developing divisions within the GOP power structure. The six-term senator and his allies, led by former Gov. Haley Barbour and an army of entrenched figures in Washington and the state capital, have maintained a tight grip on political power in Mississippi since it became a Republican state in the first place. McDaniel’s campaign has challenged that edifice of party orthodoxy. A confrontational conservative who made a name for himself as a sharp-elbowed member of the Legislature, McDaniel has been surrounded in his race by a throng of ideological fellow travelers in the state Senate. They ride on his campaign bus and speak at his rallies. Like McDaniel, they have campaigned against the establishment in Jackson and enjoy support of the tea party — and they may set their sights on higher office as early as next year.Win or lose this week, conservatives here predict that Mississippi’s state elections in 2015 will bring another reckoning for the party. The reality that McDaniel has come so close to unseating Cochran may herald a larger-scale shift in culture for a state where seniority has long been king.The brimming activist rage over Cochran’s efforts to win Democratic crossover votes this week has added an extra shot of determination to the insurgents’ efforts. Feeling that they have been opposed at every turn by power brokers in Jackson, including every major sitting GOP official in the state, they are looking to the 2015 elections as the next chance to upend state politics." (Politico)


 


"If Chris McDaniel on Tuesday knocks off Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), national Democrats will have a rare offensive opportunity in the Deep South. The nasty, divisive primary fight comes to a close in tonight’s runoff election, but it’s unclear whether Mississippi Republicans can heal the wounds the primary has caused. If Cochran is ousted, as multiple polls predict, national Republicans will also be in a tough spot and forced to decide whether they’ll embrace a controversial nominee they’ve spent months trashing. Democrats are gleeful that those divisions could open the door for their nominee, centrist former Rep. Travis Childers, to woo disaffected Cochran supporters. That new math could complicate the GOP calculus for the six seats the party needs to flip Senate control.
But a McDaniel victory would also embolden national Tea Party groups who have spent heavily on his behalf. They say if the once-underdog state senator is successful in knocking off the 36-year incumbent, he could have a ripple effect for other long-shot conservative primary challengers. 'If Chris McDaniel is able to win, he will breathe life into several more primaries coming up,” said David Bossie, president of Citizens United. His group backed McDaniel, but now it’s eyeing upcoming Senate primaries in Tennessee and Kansas with a new hope against other longtime incumbents. Cochran’s team and the GOP establishment have taken aggressive — and at times unusual — steps to prevent that outcome. The senator revamped his message, emphasizing the benefits he’s brought to the state through his appropriations work that’s usually anathema to fiscal conservatives. Outside groups spent millions of dollars on behalf of both candidates — $3.3 million during the runoff alone, and $11.4 million total during the primary, according to an analysis by the Brennan Center. McDaniel benefitted from the bulk of that, with outside groups spending $3.1 million more overall on McDaniel than outside groups spent on Cochran. And after finishing behind McDaniel by around 1,400 votes three weeks ago, Cochran’s team is now reaching out to African-Americans and Democrats to expand his share of the vote in the runoff." (TheHill)






















Miss Diana Ross, Giving it all to her fans. Photo: Bill Goulding.





"DIANA ROSS (and the Supremes) belted that one out about four decades ago. And today, the great star, Miss Ross is still belting out 'You Can’t Hurry Love' as well as a clutch of other hits from her 'Supreme' days. Ross, her backup-up singers, her half-dozen costumes, her glamorously unmanageable hair, and her opening act, daughter Rhonda, gave their all Saturday night at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. DIANA’S time onstage amounts to about 90 minutes, which is perfect. And she doesn’t waste a second. She has enough solo hits to satisfy and when she sings 'Don’t Explain,' from 'Lady Sings the Blues' time stands still. Her voice, inevitably huskier, with a bit less range, remains perfect for this Billie Holiday classic. Audience response was tremendous, especially on songs like 'Love Child' and 'I’m Coming Out.' The ovations were idolatrous. Over-the-top, some might say, and Ross encourages her audience to participate. The interaction is very exciting. Ross herself seemed blown away by her reception, humbled, even. (Under the imperious diva of legend, is a real woman with mortal frailties and insecurity.)" (NYSD)










"Thursday night, Susan Burke and Charlotte Ford hosted a cocktail reception in the back room at Swifty’s for Charles Masson and several of his paintings. I got there early because I had to go on to dinner. There were about 25 when I took the picture but more than 80 turned up to greet Charles, and 7 pictures were sold that night. This is how New York is a village, like any other. Charles has been a painter all his life. So was his father. And their mentor was Bernard Lamotte, who for years had a studio on the second floor of La Grenouille, the restaurant that Charles’ father and mother started and ran until death made changes. For the last almost two decades that Charles had been running the great restaurant, he kept a small studio for his painting off a small passage above the second floor (the building was built in 1871 as a stable for the mansion across the street).  Up until his sudden departure from the restaurant a few months ago, it was here where Charles continued to paint in the tradition of his father and of Bernard Lamotte.Charles’ sudden departure was a matter of distress to many of his friends and the restaurant’s very loyal and admiring clientele. Because the artist was the manager and created an atmosphere that was as sensitive and beautiful as his paintings. We ran a long piece on Charles in the restaurant last year. You can get a sense of it in that piece. Recently we learned that he’s going to be the general manager of a new French restaurant opening in the new Baccarat Hotel on West 53rd Street, just around the corner from his home restaurant.Susan Burke, when she heard the news, decided it was time to celebrate. She arranged through Robert Caravaggi at Swifty’s to exhibit some of Charles’ paintings and watercolors and to give this reception. The (Swifty) neighbors all came. Liz Smith had just written about Charles in her column on the NYSD that day, and she was there. It was also a little like old home week as  Swifty’s and La Grenouille were/are patronized by many of the same clientele." (NYSD)









"Politicians might generally be willing to bend over backwards to woo billionaire donors like Rupert Murdoch and Sheldon Adelson, but there’s at least one issue that these big-money contributors aren’t able to budge Republican lawmakers and candidates on: immigration.Both Murdoch and Adelson have publicly pushed for swift congressional action on immigration reform. Murdoch wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which he urged Republicans not to take House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning primary loss as a referendum on immigration, and Adelson echoed the sentiments in a Politico piece. The donors—who obviously stand to benefit from a broader employee pool—wrote movingly of their own experiences as an immigrant (Murdoch) and first-generation American (Adelson). Both seem to favor a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants (Adelson is explicit on this point). Unsurprisingly, they both also make an economic case for immigration reform: Murdoch cites a study that found 40 percent of American Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or first-generation Americans, and Adelson argues that it’s heartless to educate immigrants but not allow them to work here. They also pack a hefty punch between them—Adelson spent nearly $100 million on the 2012 election (more than any other donor) and has pledged to spend even more in 2016. Murdoch’s News Corps. funnels hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians and spends millions lobbying each year. Convincing enough? Not for some prominent Republicans." (VF)



















"Oleg Cassini’s widow Marianne Nestor has been removed as the executor of his estate, bringing hope to the fashion designer’s daughter that she might be able to collect her $1 million inheritance before she dies of cancer. Tina Cassini, the daughter of movie star Gene Tierney and herself a mother of four, hasn’t received a single penny since her father, who dressed Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly, died in 2006, leaving an estate worth about $60 million. On Friday, the Surrogate Court judge in Nassau County, where Cassini had a magnificent estate in Oyster Bay, put a public administrator in charge of Oleg’s estate. 'It’s a clear-cut case. Oleg left the money to his daughter, and this woman simply refuses to pay,' an anguished friend of Tina’s told me. No one knew Cassini was married to Nestor until he died and she produced a marriage certificate showing they wed in England in 1971. Oleg never mentioned her in his autobiography, and he introduced her to me, and to many others, as his secretary/assistant. When Maureen Orth wrote about the case for Vanity Fair in 2010, Nestor sued Orth and the magazine for libel. That suit was dismissed, but Tina’s case drags on. Tina is destitute and living in France. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009." (Richard Johnson)

No comments: