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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres




"In a sign of their increased determination to shape both the national debate and the future of the Democratic Party, top liberals are coalescing around a campaign to derail President Barack Obama’s nominee of a top Wall Street investment banker for a senior administration job, setting up a showdown with moderates of their own party. The campaign against Obama’s nomination of Lazard banker Antonio Weiss to be undersecretary of Treasury for domestic finance gained more traction on Tuesday as a national progressive group announced it had gathered 100,000 signatures on a petition opposing Weiss. But the campaign is about much more than who fills the relatively obscure number three post at Treasury in the closing years of the Obama administration. Instead, it is a proxy fight in the larger war between the progressive left, led by Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, and more centrist, Wall Street-friendly Democrats who thrived in the Bill Clinton era but now find themselves in retreat. The fight over Wall Street complicates the potential presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, who represented New York in the Senate and has many supporters in financial services. The Democratic rift is in many respects a mirror image of the fight on the right between establishment Republicans who remain close to the banking industry and pine for a Jeb Bush candidacy and conservative populists who rail against the ills of Wall Street and gravitate toward Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul.'This is not at all about Antonio Weiss,'said Steve Rattner, a prominent investment banker who worked on the auto industry bailout during Obama’s first term. 'It is part of a much broader narrative of the fight for the soul of the Democratic Party and whether so-called progressives are going to capture that or whether more mainstream Democrats, who are equally progressive in their own way, are going to retain it.” Rattner added that if the Weiss nomination goes down 'it will be a long time before anyone else with Wall Street experience volunteers for this kind of job.' Many in the progressive movement would welcome such an outcome." (Politico)



"Sen. Mitch McConnell won’t become majority leader until next month, but he’s already acting the part. The Kentucky Republican, who will visit President Obama Wednesday at the White House, has taken the lead on a variety of thorny issues, spelled out his agenda for the next Congress and is working to protect the Senate GOP majority in 2016. McConnell on Tuesday laid out his vision for immigration, taxes and healthcare reform.He wants to change ObamaCare by repealing the medical device tax and setting a 40-hour threshold for requiring employers to provide health coverage. Corporate tax reform will happen in the next Congress, McConnell said, if lawmakers agree to lower tax rates for small businesses as well as major corporations. Lawmakers have noticed that McConnell is using his newfound power. 'He certainly is because the people have spoken,' said Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), a senior member of the GOP caucus. Senate Republicans say that McConnell has new strength following his party’s strong performance in the November midterm elections, which McConnell described Tuesday as a 'butt-kicking' for Democrats. 'He’s going to have a big job come January and we want to be prepared when the time comes and set the stage a little bit,' said Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.). 'I think that the leader is trying to tee things up a little bit and give an idea of how he’d lead the Senate.' President Obama and McConnell have long had an icy relationship, but the Kentucky Republican has repeatedly stressed that he is willing to work with the White House on trade and rewriting the tax code. Still, McConnell has made sure to rip the president on a regular basis. On Tuesday, McConnell said he’s 'been perplexed by [Obama’s] reaction since the election, the sort of in-your-face, dramatic move to the left.'" (TheHill)





ROCKY START From left: First Look Media founder Pierre Omidyar and three of his most publicized hires—Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi (now gone), and Laura Poitras.


"Pierre Omidyar’s office in Honolulu occupies the second floor of a low-slung and unassuming commercial building, across from a park and a school. Down the street is a row of simple restaurants, and when Omidyar is in town, the billionaire founder of eBay often walks from his office to his favorite lunch spot, a place that he prefers not to have named, partly because he loves it and partly for reasons of security. One morning in June 2013, just days after the first stories based on Edward Snowden’s classified-document trove started appearing in The Guardian and The Washington Post, Omidyar received a call there from the Washington Post Company’s chairman and C.E.O., Don Graham, who wanted to talk to him about buying the newspaper. The two had recently exchanged messages about the Post but had never before spoken directly. Omidyar was intrigued by Graham’s passionate pitch for the kind of public-service journalism the Post produces. The two men continued to correspond over the summer. During those months, Omidyar read the autobiography of Graham’s mother, Katharine Graham, who had been the publisher of the Post when the newspaper ran its stories on Watergate and the Pentagon Papers. As a memoir reader, he was all business: 'I tried to skim through some of the personal stories, just focus on the newspaper ones,' Omidyar told me when I visited him in Hawaii last fall. 'I got excited about it.' But it was not to be. In the end, Graham named a price that Omidyar thought too high. There was a larger issue, too. Omidyar is admittedly conflict-averse, and when considering the Post, 'I just remembered instances in my history where when people aren’t fully aligned, when they haven’t bought into the vision, it’s really difficult and it’s actually a little bit draining. It’s not something I look forward to dealing with in the morning. I thought about myself actually in the role of leading a cultural transformation—that would mean dealing with talented people who fundamentally disagreed with me in some cases.' When he imagined that scenario, he realized that he wanted to avoid it. 'I said, O.K., fine, that’s maybe not a great idea.' He indulged a small laugh. 'Ultimately I think sanity returned.' Don Graham ended up selling the Post and some affiliated publications to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million. But the discussions with Graham had solidified Omidyar’s resolve to dive deeper into the world of journalism." (VF)




"The seventh annual Holiday House NYC held their opening gala two weeks ago today at the historic Academy Mansion at 2 East 63rd Street. Holiday House NYC is a decorator showhouse which features rooms inspired by the upcoming holiday and created by some of the top interior designers today. The event is produced in partnership with Traditional Home magazine and benefits The Breast Cancer Research Foundation which Evelyn Lauder founded in 1993 and has raised close to a half billion dollars for research.The 2014 New York City design firms in attendance include: Ally Coulter Designs, Amy Lau Designs, ByNoelia, Caleb Anderson Design, Carleton Varney, D├ęcor by Guillaume Gentet, Dineen Architecture and Design, Gary McBournie, Inc., ID Creation by Iris Dankner, Justin Shaulis, Inc., Kapito Muller Interiors, Kara Mann Design, Laura Krey Design, Lillian August, Linherr Hollingsworth, Louis Navarrete Decoration,Matthew Patrick Smyth, Michael Tavano Design, Natalie Kraiem Interiors, Pamela Banker Assocaites, Patrick James Hamilton Designs, Rachel Laxer Interiors, Taylor Hannah Architects." (NYSD)

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