blog advertising is good for you

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres




"President Obama has played a coy game on the Keystone XL pipeline, constantly delaying approval without committing himself fully to opposition. Coral Davenport and Ashley Parker today report out what Obama’s game is here: 'People familiar with the president’s thinking say that in 2015 he might use Keystone as a bargaining chip: He would offer Republicans approval of it in exchange for approval of one of his policies.' From Obama’s perspective, this plan makes perfect sense. The trouble is that Republicans almost certainly won’t trade him anything in return for the pipeline. The superficial logic of a Keystone trade makes sense. Obama doesn’t really care about the project much one way or the other. He regards it as a sideshow with negligible effects on climate change. Republicans, on the other hand, constantly implore him to approve it. That would seem, on the surface, to lay the basis for a logical trade of one kind or another. The trouble is, there’s little reason to think Republicans actually care about approving Keystone. Its value to them lies entirely in its use as a talking point. The pipeline is an easy, tangible example of a thing they propose to create jobs. In fact, the number of jobs the pipeline would create is pathetically negligible — around 2,000 jobs a year for two years to build it, after which maintaining the pipeline would require about 35 jobs. But the number of jobs Keystone creates is not the point. The point is that it sounds like something that creates jobs, because describing an actual tangible project makes it easy to visualize how people would be put to work on it. To be sure, there are policy changes Republicans actually believe would improve economic growth: cutting taxes for rich people, reducing spending on social programs, and deregulating the financial industry. The trouble is that all the things Republicans believe would actually create jobs are extremely unpopular. Keystone is a popular idea that can be sold as a Republican jobs plan." (NYMag)


"We do not normally comment on domestic political affairs unless they affect international affairs. However, it is necessary to consider American political affairs because they are likely to have a particular effect on international relations. We have now entered the final phase of Barack Obama's presidency, and like those of several other presidents since World War II, it is ending in what we call a state of failure. This is not a judgment on his presidency so much as on the political configuration within it and surrounding it. The midterm elections are over, and Congress and the president are in gridlock. This in itself is not significant; presidents as popular as Dwight Eisenhower found themselves in this condition. The problem occurs when there is not only an institutional split but also a shift in underlying public opinion against the president. There are many more sophisticated analyses of public opinion on politics, but I have found it useful to use this predictive model. I assume that underneath all of the churning, about 40 percent of the electorate is committed to each party. Twenty percent is uncommitted, with half of those being indifferent to the outcome of politics and the other half being genuinely interested and undecided. In most normal conditions, the real battle between the parties -- and by presidents -- is to hold their own bases and take as much of the center as possible. So long as a president is fighting for the center, his ability to govern remains intact. Thus, it is normal for a president to have a popularity rating that is less than 60 percent but more than 40 percent. When a president's popularity rating falls substantially below 40 percent and remains there for an extended period of time, the dynamics of politics shift. The president is no longer battling for the center but is fighting to hold on to his own supporters -- and he is failing to do so. When the president's support has fragmented to the point that he is fighting to recover his base, I considered that a failed presidency -- particularly when Congress is in the hands of the opposition. His energy cannot be directed toward new initiatives. It is directed toward recovering his base. And presidents who have fallen into this condition near the end of their presidencies have not been likely to recover and regain the center. Historically, when the president's popularity rating has dipped to about 37 percent, his position has been unrecoverable. This is what happened to George W. Bush in 2006. It happened to Richard Nixon in 1974 when the Watergate crisis resulted in his resignation, and to Lyndon Johnson in 1967 during the Vietnam War. It also happened to Harry Truman in 1951, primarily because of the Korean War, and to Herbert Hoover before World War II because of the Great Depression ... Of the five failed presidencies I've cited, one failed over scandal, one over the economy and three over wars -- Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. Obama's case is less clear than any. The 40 percent who gravitated to the opposition opposed him for a host of reasons. He lost the center for complex reasons as well. However, looking at the timing of his decline, the only intruding event that might have had that impact was the rise of the Islamic State and a sense, even in his own party, that he did not have an effective response to it. Historically, extended wars that the president did not appear to have a strategy for fighting have been devastating to the presidency." (STRATFOR)

Harpist Mary Lattimore

"
To celebrate the Glass House's 65th birthday, Krug and Architectural Digest co-hosted a lunch in New Canaan, Connecticut, on Sunday, November 9th. Guests strolled through the Glass House campus and enjoyed Fujiko Nakaya's "Veil," the fog installation conceived by Nakaya with Glass House Director Henry Urbach. An intimate lunch in Philip Johnson's 1965 Painting Gallery had a festive feel with guests sitting down to lunch at two long farm tables surrounded by Frank Stella's paintings from the 1960s and '70s. After lunch, guests toured the Sculpture Gallery." (NYSD)


"The past two weeks of major fall auctions proved once again that there is no shortage of global hunger for blue chip masterpieces—be they classic Manet portraits, powerful Abstract Expressionist paintings or massive, shiny Jeff Koons animals. Sotheby's pulled in $343.3 million for its evening contemporary sale and Christie's smashed the record for the highest ever auction on Wednesday night, November 12, with an $853 million total for 80 works on offer. Auction specialists say they have watched the ranks of top collectors growing in the United States and Europe and also in countries like Brazil and China, where booming economies have produced many newly wealthy buyers eager to collect art. These so-called 'trophy hunters' are the collectors who are driving the top end of the market—the number of $10 and $20-million lots sold this season is unprecedented—and who are determined to own the best of the best. Here are some of the most active and wealthy buyers in the art market today." (ArtNews)

No comments: