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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres






"The rise of the Islamic State will inspire other jihadist groups to claim their own caliphates and emirates. In the long run, the extremism of these contrived dominions and the competition among them will undermine the jihadist movement. However, before that happens, the world will witness much upheaval. In a 52-minute video that surfaced in late August, Abubakar Shekau, the head of Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram, spoke of an Islamic State in northeastern Nigeria. The statement came two months after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the chief of the transnational jihadist movement in Syria and Iraq, declared the re-establishment of the caliphate, renaming the group the Islamic State. Though likely inspired by the Islamic State, Boko Haram is not simply mimicking its more powerful Syrian-Iraqi counterpart; it is taking its cue from the Nigeria-based Sokoto Caliphate, which was established in the early 1800s and existed for almost a century until Britain gained control of the region. According to classical Muslim political theorists, there can be only one caliphate for the entire Muslim global community, or ummah. In practice, though, there have been rival claimants to authority and even competing caliphates throughout the history of Islam. In our July 1 analysis on the subject, Stratfor explained not only how multiple emirates and sultanates emerged independently of the caliphate but also that there were rival caliphates -- for example, the Abbasid in Baghdad (749-1258), Umayyad in the Iberian Peninsula (929-1031) and Fatimid in Cairo (909-1171). These medieval-era caliphates were not just the byproduct of geographical constraints facing the original caliphate but also heavily shaped by political and religious rivalries and political evolution. These dynastic empires were the building blocks of the Muslim world, not unlike the wider international system of the time. For this reason, they endured for centuries until Europe's geopolitical push into the Muslim world in the 18th century. In the past two centuries, the medieval caliphates, emirates and sultanates have been replaced by nation-states. Though artificially created and weak, these modern Muslim polities are unlikely to be swept away by radical Islamists seeking to re-establish caliphates and emirates. Although nationalism was initially a European import into the Arab/Muslim world and continues to face competition from religious and tribal identities, it is well established in the public psyche. This can be seen in the organization of most Islamists along national lines. Most Islamists, who are aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood or some variant of it, embrace the nation-state and should not be conflated with the minority of radical Islamists and jihadists who seek to eliminate national boundaries and return to a romanticized notion of the past. Still, caliphates and emirates have emerged because of the failures of the modern Muslim nation-states to create democratic systems and, more broadly, to provide a viable political economy for their citizens -- a failure that radical Islamist forces have deftly exploited." (STRATFOR)





*3 vacancies in House: 2 Safe D, 1 Safe R


"For several months, we’ve held steady on our range of expected gains for Republicans in the Senate: a net of four to eight seats. With Labor Day in the rearview mirror and with less than 55 days to go until the midterms, we’re giving Republicans a slight bump: Our new range is a Republican net of five to eight Senate seats. This means that the best-case scenario we can now envision for Democrats is a 50-50 tie in the Senate, with Vice President Joe Biden’s tiebreaking vote narrowly keeping Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) as majority leader. The likeliest outcome remains a Republican gain of six or seven seats, which we noted before Labor Day and stand by now. That would be good for a narrow 51-49 or 52-48 Republican Senate majority. What’s changed? Not a whole lot: It’s just that the weight of an unpopular president in the White House and a GOP-leaning Senate map is subtly moving things a tick or two in the Republican direction. We do have one major rating change this week: Arkansas is going from Toss-up to Leans Republican. We had Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) as an underdog earlier this cycle, and we’re putting him back there now based on the growing weight of polling data. If one assumes Republicans will net Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia, they need at least two more seats to meet the low end of our range. Arkansas looks like the next domino to fall, and if that comes to pass, the GOP will have netted four seats. (More on this in our race-by-race analysis below.) Given the wide range of other targets for Republicans in the Senate — Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, and North Carolina, with other conceivable but more remote possibilities in Michigan, Minnesota, and New Hampshire — it seems reasonable to expect that the GOP will net at least one more assuming they don’t lose any of their current seats. Hence the new range. Given that Republicans are poised, we believe, for substantial Senate gains, we’re wondering: What would count as a “wave” for the GOP in the Senate? As emeritus Prof. Al Tuchfarber of the University of Cincinnati wrote in the Crystal Ball last week, waves have a 'very specific semi-formal definition' from a political science standpoint, which is that one party or the other nets 20 or more seats in the House. By that definition, the GOP is likely to fall short this year, if only because they are close to being maxed out in the House. (We project the Republicans to gain five to eight House seats, coincidentally identical to the new Senate projection.) But there’s no wave definition for the Senate, probably because the Senate is so idiosyncratic: Only a third of the seats are up every two years, and each class alternates between being contested in bigger-turnout presidential years and smaller-turnout midterm years. Jacob Smith, a political science graduate student at the University of North Carolina, has an interesting take on this. In his senior honors thesis for Kenyon College, he researched the idea of a wave election and came up with this definition: A wave year is “a congressional election that produces the potential for a political party to significantly affect the political status quo as the result of a substantial increase in seats for that party.” (We encourage readers to read his deeper explanation.) By his calculation, Smith argues that a six-seat gain for the GOP in the Senate (likelier than not, and Smith freely admits that defining waves in a standard way in the Senate is quite challenging) and a 26-seat gain in the House (not very likely) would make 2014 a wave year. Previous wave years by this definition since World War II are: 1946, 1948, 1958, 1964, 1966, 1974, 1980, 1994, 2006, and 2010." (SabatosCrystalBall)


Hey, Mr. DJs


"Day 8 of New York Fashion 'Week' was a true test. Editors, models, and eager street stylers roamed around the west side bleary-eyed. The largest latte couldn’t salvage these tired souls, at least not until the Jeremy Scott blowout. Greg Lauren brought together his clan to celebrate his newest collection of women’s and menswear. David Lauren, Lauren Bush Lauren, Elizabeth Lauren, Jerry Lauren, Sky Lauren, Dylan Lauren, and just about any other Lauren you can think (save for Mr. Ralph) attended the party. The clan clapped for each passing look, and a standing ovation for the designer. The space created inside Artbeam Studios resembled a massive outdoor tent using the brand’s signature repurposed green canvas. Later on, Coach took over Irving Plaza. The powerhouse brand hosted two performances, the first by Zoe Kravitz’s indie rock band Lolawolf, and another by brooding songstress Banks who performed her third fashion week party set – last night was her best performance of the lot, likely due to a responsive crowd who actually knew she was there. Her previous gigs at The Top of The Standard and Tumblr’s IRLS  NYC acoustic performance didn’t allow her to flex her musical muscle. Of course, the cool kids were in attendance – Mia Moretti, Margot, Cleo Wade, and Stephanie LaCava all gave their thanks to Coach’s new creative director, Stuart Vevers, for breathing some new life and relevancy into the house. It’s no surprise though that the Jeremy Scott party took the cake with the ultimate send off to NYFW that stretched well past 4 AM." (Observer)



Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images


"Maxim magazine just announced their new editor-in-chief: Kate Lanphear. In a brief statement on their site, Lanphear said, 'I am thrilled at this opportunity to join Maxim as the brand embarks on a new chapter. I hope to cultivate and broaden Maxim’s coverage of style and culture. It’s an exciting time for this boldly confident, unapologetic brand.' So, yes, a lad magazine and the former style director for T Magazine and Elle look like unlikely bedfellows — but in a way, the news isn't as crazy as it first seems." (NYMag)


Judy Bachrach and her new book “Glimpsing Heaven; The Stories and Science of Life After Death.” Click to order.


"Also last night there was a book party down at Michael’s for Judy Bachrach and her new book 'Glimpsing Heaven; The Stories and Science of Life After Death.' I was not there but I know her book will be a hit because many of us who can read love those stories, and let’s face it, with anything we don’t know, anything is possible. I was at Michael’s for lunch yesterday. I was lunching with Nikki Haskell and Rikki Klieman. It was Nikki’s lunch. Nikki and Rikki were sitting a table away from Mikki Ateyeh (I think she spells it Micky). Rikki was talking about the Rice case and the Pistorius case both of which she covers as the Legal analyst on CBS This Morning. She’s probably asleep now as I write this (at midnight) but she’ll be up at 3 to watch the verdict for Pistorius come out of South Africa. Michael’s was back to its busy self.  The Mayor of Michael’s Joe Armstrong was at his table with David Zinczenko, the magazine and book editor/writer/publisher/fitness expert who in partnership with his friend Dan Abrams and someone else, along with a great chef from CafĂ© Boulud or thereabouts, is opening a new restaurant downtown on White Street. It’s called White Street. The opening is tomorrow. You will be hearing about it, probably from a lot of people. Moving around the room. Next to us with Micky Ateyeh was Diane Clehane of MediaBistro  and Paige Novick, the jewelry designer. At table one Marc Rosen was hosting a lunch of several people. Nearby mega-agent Esther Newberg; Agent/manager Wayne Kabak; Armando Ruiz; Rob Weisbach with Lucinda Franks who has just published an autobiography, Liz Wood in from DC, Jason Binn .." (NYSD)





Chairman of the Board of Directors of the IWHC, Marlene Hess.


"I got into this business as a writer, a social chronicler mainly by following the charity circuit when I was starting out. In the more than 20 years that I’ve been at it, I’ve seen that area of our culture in New York grow into a kind of industry accumulating and generating hundreds of millions annually. In that time, the focus has defined what early 21st century society is, both on the upper and lower ends. Aside from having a catbird seat in watching the activities and vagaries of the ambitious, driven participants, often very smart, clever — not to mention a healthy dollop of greedy, venal and misdirected — I have often seen a better side, a higher side, in many of the charities which have been created, grown and developed over the past two decades. Many times when I choose to go a specific dinner, such as last night’s International Women’s Health Coalition evening, it’s because the news of the world around us is so distressing and despairing.  I’m looking to see a better side, a better angle, a better idea. Call it a pacifier, call it hope, you can also call it courage. This is what the International Women’s Health Coalition is about. I know very little about the organization factually, incidentally, but you can learn about it quickly by going to IWHC.org. I was introduced to it a few years ago by a couple of women I know – Ann Unterberg and Marlene Hess – both actively involved. Marlene is the head of the board now. Last night was their 30th Anniversary, held at the Pierre. It was an organization that was an idea of one woman to promote and protect the sexual and reproductive rights and health of women and young people, particularly adolescent girls – in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The approach was to seek out those in societies who do this by working within communities and at both national and local levels ... It was titled 'An Evening of Bold & Independent Voices.' Last night’s guest of honor was Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg is only the second female justice on the Supreme Court and the first Jewish female justice. There was a panel discussion earlier in the day about 'visionary leadership for women and girls in Africa, Asia, and Beyond.' Then last night Justice Ginsburg was joined by Aryeh Neier, another great humanitarian (as well as a lawyer), President Emeritus of the Open Society Foundations and co-founder of the Human Rights Watch; and Francoise Girard, current president of IWHC." (NYSD)


Lupita-Nyongo-Miu-Miu-Ad


"Growing up in suburban Connecticut, I was the minority by default. Anything and everything that was the physical manifestation of my non-white background was fuel for mockery. My hair was too curly, too kinky, and too frizzy. My lips were too big. My nose was too wide. People made a game out of guessing my ethnicity, believing such an activity was as harmless as pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. My peers and adults alike made it abundantly clear that I did not belong; my blackness was a constant reminder of my status as an outsider. I can distinctly recall riding the bus in elementary school with a white classmate; He turned to me and said, 'You know why black people don’t have to wipe their own asses? Because their skin is already the color of shit.'  Before I was a teenager (and forever thereafter), my worth as a human being was solely based upon the color of my skin. Self-care is a never-ending process; I’ve only recently learned how to treat the psychic wounds. It makes my skin crawl when I have to tolerate people who refuse to employ critical thinking skills when it concerns race and racism. We all see color: noticing color is not the problem. The problem is rooted in the denial of privilege. The problem is when those 'preferences' are founded upon sweeping, bigoted generalizations carved from racist ideologies. In February 2014, the actress Lupita Nyong’o acknowledged the pain of feeling inadequate due to her skin color: 'I remember a time when I, too, felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin. I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned.' Earlier this year, Nyong’o was crowned People’s Most Beautiful." (TheAwl)


Oscar de la Renta Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear.


"OSCAR DE LA RENTA. Trying frantically to find an AT&T store to get some more cellular power. Asked at Sprint where their enemies were located. No such luck. Will just have to deal with my iPad telling me, 'you have no cellular power so emails cannot be sent or received.' It doesn’t matter as I was due at Oscar de la Renta, which I was both looking forward to and dreading. I was able to subway it to 42nd Street. Only one line this time. I was seated directly behind Annette (Oscar’s charming, strong, beautiful wife), next to her was Mrs. Henry Kissinger (looking frail with a cane), Mica Ertegun, and Barbara Walters in a jet embroidered white coat (I'm sure it is Oscar’s). On our seats were little stuffed elephants in an Oscar bag with a note from Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation with the following message: 'Did you know that each day 96 elephants are killed by poachers who smuggle tusks to the global black market ... spread the word by using the hashtag #SaveElephants.' Classy Clintons and classy de la Rentas for allowing this. Oscar’s show opened with Daris in a petal pink double-face crop top, ivory floral guipure skirt, and petal pink double-faced buffalo check coat. A perfect way to welcome Spring. Karlie and Leonine marched with navy and white buffalo check. I hope to see many of Oscar’s ladies in those checks next Spring. There are also Wedgwood blue checks with short sweaters and Bermuda shorts. " (NYSD)

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