Posted by: Lauren--NY | November 5, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: “I Saw The Empire State Laid Low”

“Yet, as only New Yorkers know, if you can get through the twilight, you’ll live through the night.” ~Dorothy Parker

New York City is the center of the universe, whether people want to admit it or not. It’s the strange, wonderful, metaphysical link between the sophisticated Londoners of today and the puritans who once left Britain. It’s a link between Europe and America. It’s representative of the wealth gap, the generation gap, the artistic world and the corporate world. It’s the worst and best of America, the worst and best of the world. All things must pass through here, must come somehow through this portal, irrespective of whether they stay–and they often don’t stay. But this melting pot is the closest you can get to absolutely everything in such a small space, and we don’t take it lightly. We have never taken it lightly.

It makes you face everything, forces you to grasp the dichotomies between the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, the young and old, black and white, gay and straight. It’s a microcosm of humanity crammed onto tiny, low-lying islands, and it isn’t lost on me that the restrictions that make New York City the wake-up call that it is are the same restrictions that make it vulnerable to attack, whether by terrorism or by nature.

However, we are the center of the universe, and we will rebuild, even if we have to do it every ten years, or every twelve, or every fifteen. We will continue to be that twisted, dark, rebellious and shining example of everything humanity is and isn’t, at the same time, with all the burdens it may carry.

My dear friend Alison Thompson, who gave me an interview in May 2010 during her time working in Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake, dispatches to you from Rockaway, Queens in New York City after Hurricane Sandy.

Alison Thompson started volunteering in NYC after 9/11, was instrumental in tsunami relief in Sri Lanka after their Christmas Day Tsunami in 2004 (she created the first tsunami disaster center ever in that country or region) and moved to Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake to be the medical director for Sean Penn’s JPHRO, which still runs the biggest IDP (internally displaced persons) camp in that country. So as far as I’m concerned, what she says, goes. I have permission to print the following note from her, one of my greatest heroines of all time.

Here’s Ali:

“How do I begin to share with you about what I am experiencing right now, Sunday Nov. 4th–3 war ships are sitting just offshore and Chinook helicopters are buzzing above me as 20 blocks to my south, gangs walk the streets in the dark searching for gas and food. I am walking back through the gates of hell in streets filled with discarded life-long possessions and mothers begging me for insulin for their children–17 miles of no power/water and churches and houses burned to the ground with steps leading to nowhere…you would think I was in Haiti, but I’m in the United States of America–in Rockaway, Queens, in one of the most complicated disasters I’ve ever seen. Communications are down, and I’m the only medic on this site tonight til back-up comes tomorrow. This disaster is too big for aid groups and Gov’ts to do alone–it’s just too big–everyone is needed to reach outside of themselves to help. Do not sit and watch it unravel like we did helplessly with Katrina–do something. Rise up, volunteers of America!!

“Two corrections officers just showed up to help; thank you! The big storm hits us on Wednesday–pray–even if u don’t believe in anything! Hedge your bets!”

Yes, another Nor’Easter is predicted to hit us on Wednesday. And we are frightened, but it won’t take us down. Having said that, help is needed. You’ve all been watching the news; you don’t need me to tell you that people have lost everything. You don’t need me to talk down to you. You need to donate, if you can.

From Jennifer Gardner Trulson (author of Where You Left Me): “In the event anyone is looking for a place to send donations of clothing, cleaning supplies, baby goods, non-perishables, etc. for Hurricane Sandy Victims, Staten Island has set up a warehouse where items can be shipped, stored and then distributed to needy areas. The address is NY Container Terminal, Attn: Sandy Relief Warehouse, 300 Western Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10303.”

You can also donate to Sandy victims via text message. To give $10 to the American Red Cross for Sandy relief, text REDCROSS to 90999. To give $10 to AmeriCares for Sandy relief, text LIVE to 25383. Lifehacker has a few more options here. TreeHugger lists some more ways you can help here. This is a general link from the Occupy folks to help the Rockaways.

If you can give anything, give. This is bad. The worst natural disaster the tristate area has ever seen. We need your help, and we will pay you back, because it’s our way. Help us now, and you will see the fruits later, because New York will rise again.

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“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” ~David Brinkley

My newest project is unique and exciting: I am running public relations and social media for a new blog about annuities and retirement planning, Earl E. Bird. This project is unique because it’s very rare that a person can find third-party information about annuity products that isn’t provided by someone trying to sell a product. Bob Hock, the author of this blog, wants to use his twenty years of financial experience and a fun cast of cartoon characters to make an intimidating topic easier to swallow in order to look out for America’s seniors. He was inspired by the legendary partnership between MetLife and Peanuts Worldwide, and enlisted the help of a tremendously talented independent artist named Pope Phoenix to create Earl E. Bird and the adorable gang. Baby Boomers and the “sandwich generation” will want to pay special attention, but anybody interested in retirement planning and personal finance will benefit from this advice. is dedicated to consumer advocacy and freedom of information, and is not designed to make a profit. It fits into my overarching interest of generational studies, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the team.

We’re hoping to connect with other bloggers who are providing similar free resources on retirement and personal finance, so if  you have a blog with such a concentration, or you have any blog that’s geared toward the Baby Boomers and/or the retired set, we’d love for you to cover us or do a link exchange–if you have any interest in that or would like to score an interview with Bob, please shoot me an email at Earlebird123 at Gmail. You can check out our Squidoo lens, like us on Facebook, follow us on Google Plus, and follow us on Twitter @AnnuityEarl!

I’m still writing for and very much enjoying my experience working for Skyword, which is the reason for the lack of action on this here blog. Recently I have covered the Diamond Jubilee and other royal happenings; you can continue to find my editorials here.

As always, new readers can see what I’m all about at Laurie Beth’s Grotto. You can also check out the site overview and Twitter.

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Posted by: Lauren--NY | February 8, 2012

Find Lauren: The Search for Lauren Spierer

Part of the reason for the slow traffic around here is because I’m now working for Skyword as a news and politics blogger for  Follow all of my stories here, and be sure to read what’s in spotlight. One of the stories I have been covering has to do with the tragic disappearance of Indiana University student Lauren Spierer, a native of Westchester County, New York. My dad is from Westchester and I spent all my Christmas Eves there as a child; it’s a very close-to-home story for me. Ms. Spierer was last seen in the wee hours of the morning on June 3rd in Bloomington, Indiana, walking home alone after a night out with friends. The search for her seems to be stalled, with no leads that have been released to the public. Her parents, Robert and Charlene Spierer, have waged a courageous public battle to find their daughter, who turned 21 in January. Friends, family and supporters have organized fundraisers in both Westchester and the Bloomington area, including a self-defense class for women and an auction.

You can find all of my coverage here. Follow the #FindLauren hashtag on Twitter for the up-to-the-minute scoop. Truly, watching the social media campaign has been rewarding and inspiring. To find out more about community outreach and ways you can help find Lauren Spierer, visit the family’s official website, Anonymous tips can also be reported to the Bloomington Police Department at 812-339-4477.

As always, you can see what I’m up to at Laurie Beth’s Grotto. You can also check out the site overview and Twitter.

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Posted by: Lauren--NY | December 31, 2011

Jenny Lawson: Judgment, You’re Soaking In It

I’m late with everything, so I just got into reading The Bloggess this year. Good Lord, is she funny and brilliant. Jenny Lawson is the quintessential female Generation XYZ humor writer. It’s almost ridiculous for me to plug her because she’s such a huge star on the web, but if perchance you haven’t read her stuff, please hit the link. Everybody make a note of the fact that she has a memoir coming out in April called Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, which you can pre-order on Amazon. Here she is this past May reading one of her columns: “Judgment, You’re Soaking In It.” Follow Jenny on Twitter @TheBloggess.

“Terry, don’t bite the Hulk baby. It’s full of steroids and rage.”

As always, you can see what I’m up to at Laurie Beth’s Grotto. You can also check out the site overview and Twitter.

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Posted by: Lauren--NY | December 18, 2011

Welcome Home For Christmas

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” ~President Dwight D. Eisenhower

To my brothers and sisters who served in Iraq for so long, welcome home. We’ve missed you.

That said–so long as there are yellow ribbons strung this time of year, amongst the red and green, the blue for Chanukah, the sparkling lights, the bizarre intersection of bustle and reflection that is our holiday season in the West…this song will always, always be for you.

Follow the USO on Twitter @the_USO. Until everyone comes home.

As always, you can see what I’m up to at Laurie Beth’s Grotto. You can also check out the site overview and Twitter.

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Posted by: Lauren--NY | December 14, 2011

Baby Buggy 10th Anniversary Gala: Jessica Seinfeld Rocks!

“Service is the rent we pay for living.” ~Marian Wright Edelman

I recently had the great honor of being an invited guest at the 10th Anniversary Gala for Jessica Seinfeld’s incredible charity, Baby Buggy, an event which was held on December 5th right here in New York City at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center. A Night of Comedy with Jerry Seinfeld & Friends featured top-notch performances from three of the best in the business: Colin Quinn, Jon Stewart and Jerry Seinfeld, with George Stephanopoulos as Master of Ceremonies. The show was out of this world, and the Seinfelds’ warm hospitality at the after-party was so kind. My date and I were so honored to be included, and I have considered it nothing but a privilege to support such an efficient, successful and selfless organization over these past few years. I’m sure you know of the organization if you live in the tristate area and/or follow me on Twitter, but if Baby Buggy is new to you for whatever reason, please allow me to have the honor of explaining that this wonderful charity has, over the past ten years, distributed over five million pieces of children’s clothing and necessary gear to families in need in New York City. It is truly staggering to think how much it costs to raise a child safely, and how important stuff can really be–warm coats, strollers, bassinets. For example, if a family has two children who are very close in age and one is a baby or toddler, and you cannot afford a cab, then the lack of a stroller can prevent a family from attending a crucial appointment with their doctor. Families are separated and children are removed from their homes and placed into foster care for lack of these items, so while it’s easy to think of these things as “just stuff,” Baby Buggy is truly saving the American family every day.

This remarkable accomplishment, which resulted in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declaring December 5th, 2011 to be “Baby Buggy Day” in New York City (and the Empire State Building to be lit up in Baby Buggy’s beautiful signature pastels of green and blue), is truly due to the vision and ingenuity of one woman, my sweet friend and mentor Jessica Seinfeld. When her first child was born in 2001, she and her husband, writer and comedian Jerry Seinfeld, were showered with gifts from generous friends–and immediately stunned by how quickly their daughter grew out of her clothes. As the daughter of a social worker, Jess couldn’t bear to throw these things away, but found it logistically difficult to donate used baby gear in New York City. So, she began what she thought was going to be a weekend drive. After the donations started pouring in, Baby Buggy grew to be the absolute best option for donating new and gently used clothing and gear for children ages 0-14 in New York City and five other major American cities. As human rights have always been a major focus of this blog; it’s my honor to share with you the details of this wonderful organization.

Ten years later, tremendous growth has been made possible due to major donors such as the always delightful Kelly Ripa & Mark Consuelos, fabulous events like the one I attended this month, the work of approximately 20,000 volunteers, and a phenomenal social media campaign headed by another dear friend of mine, Baby Buggy Executive Director Katherine Snider–a campaign of which I am humbled and delighted to be a part. Thanks to the selfless dedication of everyone involved–especially Jess and Katherine–the charity initiative that was initially supposed to be a weekend drive in Manhattan is now a major 501(c)(3) non-profit that serves needy families in not just New York City, but also Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C. and Dallas. A snapshot of those helped can be found here. All of us who consider ourselves extended members of the Baby Buggy family are so proud of Jessica and everything that she has accomplished. It takes a remarkable, salt of the Earth human being to do the work that she does, and we are all better for it.

This is the HBO-produced video that we had the privilege of viewing before the show:

It is now a holiday tradition for me to send members of my extended family donations to Baby Buggy in their names, which you can do here. If you live in New York City, you can organize a pick-up at your home to donate your gently used goods, purchased within the last three years. Or, you can schedule an appointment to drop your items off at the Baby Buggy warehouse during typical banker’s hours (Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). They are located at 306 W. 37th Street btw. 8th and 9th Ave, 8th Floor, and you may schedule that appointment for either a pick-up or drop-off by calling 212-736-1777. Please note that there is a tax-deductible courier fee for a pick-up, to minimize the cost to the organization and to keep Baby Buggy running efficiently. Please also read the list of acceptable items and their acceptable condition here before you donate.

To donate or learn more about financial contributions, please contact Stella Domenech at or 212-736-1790.

To learn about corporate in-kind donations, please contact Justin Murray at or 212-736-1773.

To learn more about corporate giving and the various ways to partner with Baby Buggy, please contact Lisa Kussell at or 212-736-1775.

To keep up with happenings, watch the Press & Events page, and please follow ED Katherine Snider on Twitter @LoveRecycled, and follow Founder and President of the Board Jessica Seinfeld @JessSeinfeld.

Here are a few more fun clips from the 10th Anniversary Gala. If you’re interested in another way to give back as you do your holiday shopping, you can find that here. As always, you can see what I’m up to at Laurie Beth’s Grotto. You can also check out the site overview and Twitter.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Extra TV:

New York Live:

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Posted by: Lauren--NY | September 25, 2011

I Want To Be Wanted

And now, Miss Brenda Lee.

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Posted by: Lauren--NY | September 20, 2011


“One day AIDS came along. It happened fast. Almost every man I was friendly with died. Eric still talks about his first boyfriend, 180 pounds, 28 years old, former college athlete, who became a 119 pound bag of bones covered in purple splotches in months. Many of us will always have memories like this that we can never escape. Out of this came ACT UP. We grew to have chapters and affinity groups and spin-offs and affiliations all over the world. Hundreds of men and women once met weekly in New York City alone. Every single treatment against HIV is out there because of activists who forced these drugs out of the system, out of the labs, out of the pharmaceutical companies, out of the government, into the world. It is an achievement unlike any other in the history of the world. All gay men and women must let ourselves feel colossally proud of such an achievement. Hundreds of millions of people will be healthier because of us. Would that they could be grateful to us for saving their lives. So many people have forgotten, or never knew what it was like. We must never let anyone forget that no one, and I mean no one, wanted to help dying faggots. Sen. Edward Kennedy described it in 2006 as ‘the appalling indifference to the suffering of so many.’ Ronald Reagan had made it very clear that he was ‘irrevocably opposed’ to anything to do with homosexuality. It would be seven years into his reign before he even said the word “AIDS” out loud, by which time almost every gay man in the entire world who’d had sex with another man had been exposed to the virus. During this entire time his government issued not one single health warning, not one single word of caution. Who cares if a faggot dies?” ~Larry Kramer, WE ARE NOT CRUMBS; WE MUST NOT ACCEPT CRUMBS (Remarks on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of ACT UP, NY Lesbian and Gay Community Center,
March 13, 2007)

When looking back at the history of United States presidents–their legacies, their libraries, their personality quirks, their fireside chats–it isn’t very often that the name Lyndon Baines Johnson sparks joy in people’s hearts. To the contrary, President Johnson was by all accounts a temperamental, difficult man, and despite having signed the iconic Civil Rights Act in 1964, he is most often remembered for escalating the Vietnam War to the point of no return. However, there was one incident for which those who actually remember it shower President Johnson with praise: Hurricane Betsy. Hurricane Betsy, nicknamed “Billion-Dollar Betsy” due to the massive cost of the damage, slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States in September of 1965 as a Category 4, much like Hurricane Katrina would do in the exact same area forty years later–and breached the levees in New Orleans. There were, of course, many differences between these two incidents due to the fact that there were many differences between the America of 1965 and that of 2005. However, the primary reason that anyone invokes Betsy these days (and most of my Generation XYZ probably doesn’t even know it happened) is to take a potshot at President George W. Bush, because President Johnson had something during Hurricane Betsy that President Bush did not have during Hurricane Katrina: a bullhorn moment.

Those in this country who are old enough to remember Hurricane Betsy have an iconic image of President Johnson in their minds because he showed up in the Ninth Ward within 24 hours of the storm having made landfall, at George Washington Elementary School on St. Claude Avenue, which was being used as a shelter. As in Hurricane Katrina, most of those who suffered the worst ramifications of the storm were African-American and were living below the poverty line, or close to it. Many of them reportedly didn’t believe it was the President of the United States at first, as he arrived by flashlight in near total darkness. “This is your President!” came his announcement. “I’m here to help you!” It’s worth pointing out here that 1965 was relatively near the beginning of the television age; both media and politics changed dramatically. Due to the intersection of the birth of a new era of media, the birth of a new era of politics (the Vietnam-era anti-war movement and the resulting generation gap) and what should have been a defining moment of a presidency, President Johnson’s bullhorn moment during Hurricane Betsy is a remarkable moment in American history that is all but forgotten due to the bitterness with which he left office–but that’s a story for another day.

In fairness to President Bush, he not only had a bullhorn moment during his presidency, it was his that coined the phrase. No matter how many missteps he made in the months and years following (and he made many), President Bush was note perfect on September 14th, 2001, when he stood–with a bullhorn, naturally–alongside firefighter Bob Beckwith, three days after 9/11, amongst the rubble at Ground Zero: “I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people–and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!” Those gathered at Ground Zero–and, if only symbolically, the American people–responded to those words with a mighty roar, and it’s almost impossible to verbalize what we all felt in that moment. As a kid who would turn fifteen years old the next day–a kid who honestly wasn’t a huge fan of that president, and still isn’t–I felt powerful. I felt like Americans were the most powerful people on Earth. How dare they screw with us, and how dare I, even for an instant, believe our nation wouldn’t thrive, wouldn’t win? Of course we would come back from the worst terrorist attack to ever occur on our soil, and the sound of our fortitude would reverberate throughout the world.

One thing these moments prove is that morale can make or break a people, and that visible, audible leadership is essential to morale. On a national scale at least, nobody really reminisced about President Johnson’s leadership during Hurricane Betsy until Hurricane Katrina. Due to the transient nature of American politics, it was all but forgotten–until we felt it when it wasn’t there. No matter how much I grew to dislike President Bush over the years, I will always be grateful to him for that bullhorn moment, and I remember exactly what it felt like because, as someone born and raised in the tristate area who lost a family friend on September 11th, I got one.

The LGBT community never has. As the great Larry Kramer said, President Ronald Reagan didn’t say the word “AIDS” in public until his second term, well after the illness became an historic, vicious nightmare, well after the American people needed their leader. His glaring silence in the face of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s is a blight on this country’s history that is deeply shameful, and that bullhorn moment that never came, when the wrong class of people developed lesions and went blind, and lost control of their bowels, and did other undignified things like dropping dead–they felt it when it wasn’t there. And they still do. As a straight woman, it’s personal for me not just because there are gay people in my life whom I love and adore, but because I love and adore this country, and this is a civil rights issue. It’s personal for me because this is a moment in my nation’s history when there was a colossal failure of leadership in the face of terror and death. Those bullhorn moments mean something to me. My American brothers and sisters were ignored and made to suffer in silence; funeral homes wouldn’t take them because they were too afraid. They were the Untouchables. This shames me just as much as slavery and Japanese-American internment, and the fact that my Italian-American relatives were defined as “enemy aliens” under Title 50 of the United States Code during the Second World War–if not more so, just because of how recent this was.

There’s a celebration going on as I write this, being aired on “The Rachel Maddow Show” by satellite, because the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” finally went into effect today. It’s a thrilling development, even though it took such a ridiculously long time, and I was in a very happy mood this morning as I got ready to go to an early morning staff meeting and read the delighted tweets. It is truly a happy day in this regard, a victory a long time coming. We also got good news about the potential for an AIDS vaccine today.  It should be a celebration.

That celebration is tempered, however, because we got news of another suicide due to anti-gay bullying today. His name was Jamey Rodemeyer, he was only 14 years old, and he had a baby face. He died on Sunday, of an apparent suicide. On September 9th, he wrote on his blog, “I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens. What do I have to do so people will listen to me?” In May, reportedly in a good mood after coming out to some friends, he made a video for the Dan Savage-inspired “It Gets Better” campaign:

This child is gone now. Media outlets are trying to cover bullying, but schools are putting in place idiotic neutrality policies preventing faculty and staff from actually addressing the topic of the insults when the bullying is related to sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. In other words, more silence. Glaring, deafening silence. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) launched The Day of Silence in 1996 as an in-school protest against anti-LGBT bias and discrimination, and they called it that for a reason. It’s a day of silence for a reason–it represents the missing piece, the bullhorn moment that never came. The pandemic of silence that has existed for so long. Just as Presidents Johnson and Bush put something in motion with their bullhorn moments, President Reagan put something in motion through his refusal to give it, and the gaping chasm where it should have been. A distinct group of American citizens still feel like they’re on their own, even as children. Their storm, their panic, their deaths didn’t count.

AIDS is a pandemic, but so is the cruel indifference that allowed it to become what it was, and to ravage the gay community the way it did–as a taboo, no less. Genuine human loss that was inappropriate for dinner table conversation. That same pandemic of indifference continues, and people are still dying. Children are dying. As Dan Savage wisely implies, it does get better, and it is getting better. Congress repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” President Obama made an “It Gets Better” video, as did several in his administration. However, Jamey Rodemeyer still lived in a world where the insults hurled at him were considered at least somewhat acceptable, where there are actually official policies in schools that prevent faculty and staff with dealing with them. Jamey Rodemeyer was an American citizen, but he was a member of a community that never got their bullhorn moment when they deserved one, and the effects are still being felt.

For thirty years, we’ve been dealing with this pandemic of dead air, of apathy. Arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. If I sound pathetic, crying over a kid I didn’t know and bitching about a president from decades ago, the reason is obvious. I’m just one more in a long line of pathetic people who don’t know how to fight this war. This war is too damn slow for me; it’s too long. I’m devastated by it. And, to paraphrase President Johnson, I don’t know how to get out.

I know how to start. CNN, Cartoon Network and Facebook are teaming up to give it a shot, so I would like my readers to please try to help them out. You can watch the CNN town hall on bullying on Sunday, October 9th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, which will be hosted by Anderson Cooper (who has been one of the stand-out members of the mainstream media when it comes to standing up to bullying and anti-LGBT bias), and please go to the Stop Bullying: Speak Up Facebook page for more information, and take the pledge.

In his video, Jamey Rodemeyer revealed that he knew that there were people out there who didn’t want him to die. Those people ultimately couldn’t save him, but we can do our utmost to make sure he didn’t die in vain.

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Posted by: Lauren--NY | August 22, 2011

New Reports Say Marc Jacobs Could Head Dior

The Huffington Post reports that Marc Jacobs could be replacing John Galliano as the creative director at Christian Dior. LVMH head Bernard Arnault, who designs two of his own successful lines as well as Louis Vuitton, is in talks with Jacobs about heading up the House of Dior after Galliano was fired in March for being caught on tape making horrendously anti-Semitic comments. Rumors have swirled since Galliano’s firing regarding who would take the top job, including such unlikely guesses as Alexander Wang, Christian Lacroix and Keren Craig of Marchesa. However, it appears the reports about Jacobs taking the position are more than just rumors, as he is in serious talks.

According to Women’s Wear Daily, LVMH, owner of both Dior and Louis Vuitton as well as Marc Jacobs and many other luxury brands, has scheduled Dior representatives for meetings with Jacobs’s attorneys in Paris this coming week. The fashion world is exploding with excitement at the meshing of the names Christian Dior and Marc Jacobs, and the introduction of Jacobs as creative director would certainly increase morale at the House of Dior after the disaster of Galliano’s downfall. Taking the top job at Dior would require Jacobs to give up his current position as creative director at Louis Vuitton.

The report is unconfirmed as both Jacobs and representatives for Dior declined comment, but Women’s Wear Daily is considered an extremely reliable source within the fashion industry, and they have a source stating that while no deal has been inked, both Jacobs and Dior management are “excited” about the prospect. Get excited, fashion world–provided the contractual doldrums work out well, it looks like it very well might be Marc Jacobs for Dior.

As always, see what I’m up to at the Grotto overview, and follow me on Twitter @TheGrottoTweets.

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Posted by: Lauren--NY | August 17, 2011

No, Rep. Ron Paul Does Not Deserve More Media Attention.

UPDATE 8/30/11: Again!

Jon Stewart made waves last week by suggesting that the mainstream media is purposely ignoring presidential candidate and Texas congressman Ron Paul. The Huffington Post‘s Asher Smith says that isn’t true. And Mr. Smith is right.

The primary ammunition used to push this concept by those who share Jon Stewart’s opinion–like Politico blogger Roger Simon–is the fact that Rep. Paul finished second in the Ames straw poll on Saturday, and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann only beat him by nine tenths of one percent, or 152 votes out of 16,892 cast. The part that gets (conveniently) left out is that not only is the Ames straw poll historically almost meaningless, but the two frontrunners in overall polling–former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and Texas Governor Rick Perry–essentially skipped it. Mr. Smith points out that the press is usually guilty of applying most time and energy to the political personality who shouts the loudest, not necessarily the one who has the highest chance of winning or of putting effective policy in place. He blames the media for the sudden prominence of Rep. Bachmann, who has incredibly fringe views and stands very little chance of pulling Independent voters in a general election, and calls her a “vanity candidate,” stating that the mainstream media should not have lent her any legitimacy. He’s right as rain on that one.

“The media should be applauded for the collective observation that success the Ames Straw Poll [sic] is not an indicator of broad-based support,” says Asher Smith. He also points out that the event is small enough to be held inside the Iowa State University basketball arena. In 2007, Mitt Romney won the straw poll and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee later won the Iowa caucus; the straw poll failed to predict the winner of the state of Iowa, let alone the GOP nominee. It’s also silly not to mention that Rep. Paul’s overall polling is not even close to stellar. Mr. Smith details why the Ames straw poll is almost perfectly tailored to Rep. Ron Paul’s strengths, and that the campaign funded $20 of the $30 it cost attendees to purchase a ticket and a vote–and adds that a first or second place finish for him was a foregone conclusion. Rep. Ron Paul reaped much from the straw poll because he invested much in the straw poll, but there’s a reason why Romney and Perry didn’t bother.

Mr. Smith rightfully laments that media resources wasted on a candidate with so little chance of claiming the nomination are resources not devoted to holding more promising candidates’ feet to the fire. Shades of Sarah Palin’s nonsensical “One Nation” bus tour in May and June, and the established journalists that followed her around the country like lost puppies when other people were actually submitting their paperwork to run and getting nary a mention.

Did I mention that Congressman Paul is on CNN every time I turn around? Because he is.

As always, see what I’m up to at the Grotto overview, and follow me on Twitter @TheGrottoTweets.

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