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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres










"Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign is the broadest and deepest effort to purge, reorganize and rectify the Communist Party leadership since the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 and the rise of Deng Xiaoping two years later. It has already probed more than 182,000 officials across numerous regions and at all levels of government. It has ensnared low-level cadres, mid-level functionaries and chiefs of major state-owned enterprises and ministries. It has deposed top military officials and even a former member of the hitherto immune Politburo Standing Committee, China's highest governing body. More than a year after its formal commencement and more than two years since its unofficial start with the downfall of Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai, the campaign shows no sign of relenting. It is becoming clear that this campaign is unlike anything seen under Presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Both carried out anti-corruption drives during their first year in office and periodically throughout their tenures as a means to strengthen their position within the Party and bureaucracy and to remind the public, however impotently, that Beijing still cared about its well being. But that was housekeeping. This appears to be different: longer, stronger, more comprehensive and more effective. With this in mind, we ask: What is the fundamental purpose of Xi's anti-corruption campaign? An attempt to answer this question will not tell us China's political future, but it will tell us something about Xi's strategy -- not only for consolidating his personal influence within the Party, government and military apparatuses, but also and more important, for managing the immense social, economic, political and international pressures that are likely to come to a head in China during his tenure. Getting to the heart of the anti-corruption campaign -- and therefore understanding its inner logic and direction -- provides insights on the organization and deployment of political power in China and how those things are changing as the Party attempts to remake itself into an entity capable of ushering China safely through the transformation and crises to come." (STRATFOR)





"Former President Clinton fired back at critics of the Export-Import Bank on Tuesday, calling their attacks 'ridiculous' and urging Congress to re-authorize the bank. 'Economics is not theology. If you're running a country, you've got to try to create an opportunity for all of your businesses to be competitive,' Clinton said, while moderating a panel at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, part of a three-day summit in Washington to promote the economic partnership between America and Africa. 'That's all the Ex-Im bank does, and I've heard more ridiculous things said about the Ex-Im bank in the last six months than I have in my adult life,' he added. In his second question as moderator during the 45-minute discussion, Clinton asked General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, a supporter of Ex-Im, to address the importance of the bank. 'We don't want to get in the middle of Washington's political wars, but how important do you think it is for the future prospects of getting more financing in Africa for American businesses to renew the Export-Import Bank?' Clinton asked. 'There's a lot of things to be critical about big businesses, and there's a lot of things that don't work in government, but exporting is not one of them and the Ex-Im Bank is not one of them,' Immelt responded. 'And the fact that we have to sit here and argue for it I think is just wrong.' Immelt said the bank helps finance and support U.S. businesses looking to make inroads in markets that traditional financial institutions might deem too risky. 'But more so than anything else, Mr. President, is that it shows the U.S. cares,' Immelt continued. 'It speaks to the country's interest in a region, it's a competitive weapon, and it creates jobs here — lots of jobs, and it creates jobs in the countries we go to.' Tea Party groups and many GOP leaders, including House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), are urging Congress not to re-authorize the bank, whose charter expires at the end of September. If Congress doesn't re-authorize the bank, it will shut down. Critics of the bank, which also include Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), say it's little more than 'corporate cronyism' designed to prop-up companies like GE and Boeing." (TheHill)


Emcee Chuck Scarborough welcomed the guests


"This past Saturday night in Southampton, the Southampton Hospital celebrated its 56th Annual Summer Party (theme: Endless Summer) in the tents at the corner of Wickapogue and Old Town Road. Guests arriving were greeted by 9 artist-designed surfboards from Peter Max, Michael Dweck and Peter Tunney provided by the event’s media partner Hamptons magazine and auctioned off on CharityBuzz.com. Benefit Chair Laura Lofaro Freeman, Southampton Hospital President & CEO Robert Chaloner and Southampton Hospital Foundation President Steve Bernstein welcomed 650 supporters. The evening raised $1.5 million to provide critical support for the Jenny and John Paulson Emergency Department. WNBC anchor Chuck Scarborough emceed, supported by Corporate Chair was Douglas Elliman Real Estate and Fashion Chair Michael Kors.  Guests danced to the music of the Alex Donner Orchestra. The buffet dinner was catered by Robbins Wolfe Eventeurs under the gorgeous tents designed by Steven Stolman.  The night’s live auction included fine jewelry from Sintessi and LJ Cross." (NYSD)





"Who will be the first to make a female-superhero movie? Back in the days when one superhero movie per year seemed like a lot, yes, there were Catwoman and Elektra movies. But the failure of both, for reasons both sexist and capitalist, put female superheroes literally behind the men for the foreseeable future. But the summer success of Scarlett Johansson–starring Lucy has only amplified the drumbeat that’s been going for a few years—why the hell doesn’t Black Widow get her own movie? Or Mystique, for that matter? Or, given this weekend’s box-office bounty, Gamora? None of the above are currently slated for their stand-alone movies—yes, even Marvel Studios, handing out franchises to insect heroes, can’t run with Black Widow yet—but Sony may beat them all to the superpowered punch. Deadline is reporting some very vague plans about the studio’s scheme to expand the Spider-Man universe; not only will there be The Sinister Six, the villain-focused movie slated for 2016, but a female character will lead her own movie as well. Which female character? Sony isn’t saying, and though Deadline speculates about a few known characters from Spider-Man’s stories, the most likely pick is probably Black Cat, introduced with her civilian name, Felicia Hardy, in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as Harry Osborn’s assistant. Felicity Jones played her, and she’s exactly the kind of rising star who might be handed a superhero franchise—see Chrises Evans, Hemsworth, and Pratt for the male equivalents. Or the studio that’s already done two franchises based around its lone popular superhero could scrap Jones and start all over. Or, for that matter, they could go with another character entirely." (VanityFair)





"The Journal Communications/E.W. Scripps merger and split last week may have seemed like a bolt out of the blue, but it’s a bolt that makes sense in the new cosmic order of local media (“Diversified media companies are hurrying to undiversify”). In fact, this game of Local Media Split ‘Em is all but done — with one big U.S. exception, its largest daily publisher, Gannett. Scripps and Journal Communications were two of the last newspaper companies with broadcast assets. For many years, it was the newspapers of such 'diversified' companies that served as the cash cows, with broadcast a good but less profitable business. But a look at the financials of any of the diversified companies shows that it’s broadcast supplying most of the profit today, even if the newspapers often produce higher revenues. That’s why we’ve seen the parade of 'newspaper' companies, or 'magazine' in the case of Time Warner/Time Inc., dividing their print assets from their broadcast, cable, and/or digital ones. Today, Tribune joins the crowd, becoming a standalone newspaper-based company, Tribune Publishing. Add Tribune to the list of companies that once had both print and broadcast under a single ownership: News Corp, The New York Times Co., the Washington Post Co., Media General, Belo, Time Warner, Scripps, and Journal Communications, among others.Gannett is now alone among the big newspaper companies; there are a few smaller chains still owning both newspapers and TV, like Schurz Communications. Even with all the growth of its broadcast business (most recently through the acquisition of Belo’s stations), it’s still a company that is defined, at least in part, by its newspaper roots. Investors have had a long love affair with the stock, at least compared to its newspaper company peers. But Gannett’s newspapers are a drag on its earnings. Its Q2 publishing results affirm that things aren’t getting much better — down 3.7 percent year-over-year in revenues overall, 5.1 percent in print ad revenues — and that fueled a little speculation that Gannett may be preparing to sell some of its 81 daily newspapers, a speculation fueled by CEO Gracia Martore’s reply to an analyst." (Neiman)


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"While you were in bed watching Netflix this weekend and spilling salsa on your comforter for the umpteenth time, Riccardo Tisci was having a giant birthday party rager in Ibiza with basically every celebrity and hot person ever. It was an Instagram event for the ages. Below, we've rounded up some of our favorite photos from this weekend-long affair. Kate. Moss's. Outfit." (Paper)

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