‘Telling it like it is,’ Christie expands GOP field

UPDATE 2PM ET 30 JUNE 2015

“It’s My Life – It’s Now Or Never..” 

To the strains of Jon Bon Jovi’s 2000 AOR anthem, the singer’s fellow New Jerseyan Chris Christie opened a press conference at his old high school in Livingston, NJ, where he became the 14th announced candidate in the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary. The New York Times reports:

Relying on his biggest, and perhaps his last, remaining advantage in a field of better-financed and better-liked rivals – his personality – Mr. Christie portrayed himself as the only candidate in the Republican field who is forthright and forceful enough to run the country.

Given Donald Trump’s recent run-in with Neil Young over the soundtrack for Trump’s announcement, Bon Jovi later said that he had “absolutely” given permission to use his music, and that his “friendships were apolitical.”

At least Christie didn’t choose “Going Down in a Blaze of Glory.”

 

MIDNIGHT,  JUNE 29

An already bloated Republican Presidential field is set to grow still further on Tuesday, when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie – “dogged by scandals and a plummeting popularity in his own state” – officially launches his campaign, media coverage of which may likely exceed his showing in any meaningful voter poll.

The New Jersey Star-Ledger‘s Tom Moran writes in a column headed “After 14 years of watching Christie, a warning: he lies,” that “He is a remarkable talent with a silver tongue. But if you look closely, you can see that it is forked like a serpent’s.”

Jack Shafer writes at Politico:

Will Christie appeal to his angels or his devils? In an interview today with the Washington Post’s James Hohmann, Christie biographer Matt Katz says he never doubted that Christie would run—”Barring a criminal indictment”—because he believes too much in himself and his communications skills not to run. Such confidence, so rare outside of politics and the casino, is the manna that keeps the political system running. Such confidence is also the stuff that causes otherwise sensible politicians to pick unnecessary fights with the press. Christie doesn’t like the press and the press doesn’t like Christie’s imperious ways much, either. Only one combatant in this face-off can change the equation, and only one combatant has everything to lose by not changing it.

***

* WORLD * Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urged the nation to vote against international creditors’ austerity demands in Sunday’s national referendum.

The Guardian reports that 

At the end of a day that saw sharp falls in share prices around the globe, Tsipras used a TV address to ask a public still stunned by the imposition of a €60 daily limit on bank withdrawals to back his resistance to a new round of tough tax increases and spending cuts demanded by the troika of the commission, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund.

Tsipras urged Greeks to vote no in the forthcoming referendum, saying the plebiscite would be a strong “negotiating tool” in talks with lenders.

***

* POLITICS * NBC said it was severing ties with GOP Presidential candidate and TV personality Donald Trump after his “recent derogatory comments” regarding immigrants. The Hill reports that the move follows reports that Univision, the country’s largest Spanish-language network, said it would not air the beauty pageants produced by Trump.

A big deal commercially, maybe, but perhaps no matter in the grand political scheme of things…

In South Carolina, Karen Tumulty at the Washington Post has a profile of  Paul Thurmond, Republican legislator and son of Strom, and his efforts to have the confederate battle flag removed from the state capitol.

“I am aware of my heritage, but my appreciation for the things my forebears accomplished to make my life better does not mean that I must believe that they always made the right decisions,” Thurmond said. “And for the life of me, I will never understand how anyone could fight a civil war based in part on the desire to continue the practice of slavery.”

***

* BUSINESS * As the second quarter draws to a close on Tuesday, Reuters reports that worldwide M&A deals “almost matched the record set in the second quarter of 2007.”

The second quarter of 2015, however, stands out for the number of mega deals that were clinched or attempted.

These include Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s (RDSa.L) $70 billion acquisition of British rival BG Group Plc (BG.L), cable operator Charter Communications Inc’s (CHTR.O) $78.7 billion merger with Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC.N), and chip maker Avago Technologies Ltd’s (AVGO.O) $37 billion acquisition of peer Broadcom Corporation (BRCM.O).

Such large deals drove M&A volumes globally in the second quarter of 2015 up by 34.6 percent year-on-year to $1.33 trillion as of June 26, shy of the record $1.41 trillion seen in the second quarter of 2007.

***

* MEDIA* Roy Greenslade finds that The Daily Telegraph‘s redesign, on the occasion of its 160th birthday, is “easy on the eye for modern readers.”

It’s an old-and-new combination that looks rather good, at first – and second – look. But the headline change is less striking than the introduction of a larger text size, which marks a truly radical change in the paper’s appearance.

Meanwhile, The Guardian flashes back to 29 June 1970 and a report by an academic, one James Curran of Trinity College, Cambridge, that prognostications of newspaper ‘doom’ may be unfounded.

“There is nothing to justify the pessimism among journalists induced by the economic insecurity of the press industry and steadily falling newspaper sales. Nor is there a shred of evidence to support Professor [Marshall] McLuhan’s sweeping assertion that television viewing, by changing our sensory equipment, has eroded the need for the printed word.”

(Disclaimer – Goldsmith College’s Prof James Curran was one of the doctoral supervisors for my own (unfinished) PhD work on user-generated content.)

***

* CULTURE * E.L. James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey, held a Twitter Q&A on Monday, and as The Independent reports, it didn’t go “exactly as planned.”

Finally, the end of June will come one second later than expected at midnight on Tuesday, with a “leap second” added to the official global clock for the first time in three years.

Use it wisely.

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