Category Archives: Video

Irish priest’s take on Cohen brings the house down

As you may know, the name “Cohen” in Hebrew means “priest,” or “a member of the priestly class, having certain rights and duties in the synagogue.”

Father Ray Kelly, a priest of another tradition, took full advantage of his rights in performing his duties at a recent wedding at his parish in Meath, Ireland. He quickly went viral on YouTube. The bride and groom had no idea it was coming, but they and the rest of the congregation loved it.

Since he used my favorite Leonard Cohen tune, I thought I’d share.

By the way, according to the Irish Times, Fr. Kelly is “planning on releasing a charity album to coincide with his 25th year since being ordained.”

Sheheen’s new campaign video: “Failing”

Here’s the TV ad released by the Sheheen campaign today.

Thoughts? My own first reaction is that it looks like Nikki Haley is the incumbent superintendent of education rather than governor. There’s no explanation for why the governor should be held accountable for the performance of schools.

It also seems kind of weird and backwards. Don’t people of Nikki Haley’s wing of the GOP usually bemoan the state of public schools, while SC Democrats stick up for public educators doing the best they can with what they’ve got? I mean, wouldn’t Nikki’s natural reaction be, “Yes, and this is why we need tuition tax credits?” Or another of those old SCRG talking points.

I’m not sure what sort of train of thought this is meant to invoke, beyond “Nikki Haley — bad.” But maybe you see something else…

RGA ad reminds us that real-life national politics is WAY stupider than ‘House of Cards’

Vincent Sheheen’s campaign is lashing back at the Republican Governor’s Association ads attacking him for supporting Medicaid expansion.

It is, as the Democrat says and The Washington Post has noted, bizarre for him to be attacked for that when the chairman of the RGA, Chris Christie, supports that part of the Affordable Care Act, too. As have other Republican governors.

Note the Democrats’ spoof of the RGA ad below.

But that’s not what is most remarkable about the original ad. What is most remarkable about it is just how unbelievably stupid it is. Rather than discuss the merits of Medicaid expansion and making whatever arguments it can come up with against the idea, the ad simply says “Obamacare” over and over and over and over.

Yes, we know that that one neologism sums up the entire national Republican strategy for 2014 (even more than it did in, let’s see, 2010 and 2012). Everything else — such as the crusade against spending that was once deemed so important that it was worth destroying the full faith and credit of the national government to fight — has been shoved aside for that.

But come on, people. Make an effort to form a coherent thought here.

Anyone trying to find a logical train of thought in this ad will likely get a headache instead. It opens, for instance, with “Well first, Sheheen supported much of Obamacare. But then, he refused to support the lawsuit to stop it.” The narrator’s voice drips with irony. But in what universe would there be a “but” joining those two thoughts? Why would anyone who supported much of a thing join in a lawsuit to stop it?

After that, anyone trying to think about the ad is sufficiently thrown off balance that he hardly has the attention span left to protest that the bit about “millions of families losing their health plans” has absolutely zero to do with what Sheheen favors, that it is in fact the opposite of what he favors, since he wants to expand coverage. And since when did Medicaid expansion cost jobs? I thought it was refusing to expand Medicaid that cost jobs. Wait a second…

But the ad is over. And all you’re left with is this echo of “Obamacare, Obamacare.”

Let’s give the people who made this ad some credit. Let’s assume they’re smart enough to know that the ad doesn’t make sense, that they’re just being stunningly cynical. But they certainly believe the rest of us are stupid enough to go along.

Now, finally… I said this ad was “remarkable” for its insult to our intelligence. But that was a poor choice of words. Most political ads are more or less this stupid.

Last night, I saw the last episode of the new season of “House of Cards.” This morning, I saw this ad. And I’m struck by how much stupider real-life national politics is than what is depicted on that show. Frank Underwood and his fellow plotters may be amoral, wicked, devious and manipulative. But at least they seem to be clever about it.

It’s hard to see any sign of anything remotely like cleverness or subtlety in the way politics is actually conducted in this country — particularly on the national level. Which is why it’s so offensive to see a state election such as this one nationalized. Again.

Making ‘Citizens United’ hip, glib, funny and nonthreatening

I just got around to this video from yesterday celebrating the Citizens United decision four years and one day ago.

Yes, I said, “celebrating.” As in, “Yippee!,” as opposed to what I usually hear about it, which is more in the Egon Spengler range, as in, “Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.”

Here’s the release about it:

Group Recognizes Citizens United v. FEC Anniversary with Video
Center for Competitive Politics Releases Video by Noted YouTube Artist GoRemy

For Release: January 21, 2014

Today the Center for Competitive Politics marked the fourth anniversary of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling by releasing a video about the decision by noted YouTube artist GoRemy.

The video examines five common misconceptions about the Citizens United that many critics of the decision tend to gloss over, such as the government’s argument that they should be able to ban books and that the decision did not create the concept of corporate personhood.

What the Citizens United decision did do was overturn blatantly unconstitutional parts of a law designed to prevent freedom of association among individuals with the purpose of speaking out about politics. And, despite repeated assertions that the decision would lead to the corporate takeover of our democracy, we’ve had some of the most competitive elections in our nation’s history.

At its core, Citizens United was about whether the government could ban a nonprofit corporation from distributing a movie about a political candidate. The decision did not “reversed a century of law to open the floodgates – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections,” as President Obama famously chastised the Supreme Court. Rather, the decision allowed organizations to do what wealthy individuals have always been able to do: make independent expenditures advocating for or against a chosen candidate.

Now why am I posting this? Because I agree with it, or because I wish to rip into it? Neither. Basically, it attracted my attention because on the thumbnail for the video, I saw the very same mug shot of Nick Offerman in the role of Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation” that one of y’all — I want to say Silence Dogood — used to use as an avatar. So I thought at least one of y’all would enjoy it on that basis. Yes, I know that’s a thin premise, even though I cannot measure how thin it is.

I decided to go ahead and post it after seeing it, because I was intrigued by — whatever you think of the message — how slick it was.

Starting with the choice of pitchman, who I am told is “noted YouTube artist GoRemy.” OK, whatever. I’m just impressed by how well-chosen he was to make people think more kindly of the idea of corporations being people and such.

If you have an “Occupy Wall Street” picture in your head of the people who celebrate Citizens United, then you expect the spokesman to be somebody like Robert Stack, or Charlton Heston, or Peter Graves, or some other old, dead, establishment-looking white guy. (You may object that a dead guy couldn’t shoot a video, but we’re not talking about reality; we’re talking about the way Occupy Wall Street sees the world.)

This guy is like the opposite of that, only in a cool way, so you’re not beaten over the head with it.

According to Wikipedia, GoRemy is Remy Munasifi, “an Arab-American stand-up comedian,[1] parody musician and video artist who became an Internet celebrity after his production of comedic sketches based on Arabs under the name “GoRemy” on YouTube. His videos had gained over 78 million views as of late 2010.”

He’s hip, he’s young, he’s glib, he’s of nonspecific ethnicity, he’s nonthreatening, he’s not dead, and he most assuredly is not Robert Stack — not even the funny, ironic Robert Stack in “Airplane!

Perhaps a little too glib. I have to say I was a bit offended at having the Plessy vs. Ferguson case dismissed with a funny picture of a baby with a perplexed expression and the caption, “WHO VS. WHATNOW?”

Or at least, I would have been, if it hadn’t all gone by so quickly that I had to back it up and freeze frames in order to see what the baby was supposedly saying.

The point of the video is to make your brain dance lightly along to the tune of the fun wordplay, and then wander away humming to itself and thinking, “That Citizens United isn’t so bad after all…”


Video: Sheheen explaining his restructuring bill in 2008

I was looking for a picture of Vincent Sheheen to go with the last post, and ran across this video clip that I had forgotten.

It’s from the meeting on January 29, 2008, when he unveiled his restructuring plan to Cindi Scoppe and me, in the editorial board room at The State.

It’s short — the camera I used then would only shoot video for three minutes at a time — and there are several other clips from after this one that I did not upload.

But I share this one because in it, he shows how well he understood the actual power situation in South Carolina.

When talking about South Carolina’s unique situation as the “Legislative State” (even back in 1949, when some other Southern states had some similar such arrangements, political scientist V. O. Key called South Carolina that in his classic. Southern Politics in State and Nation), we tend to use a lazy shorthand. We say that SC lawmakers don’t want to surrender power to the governor.

That glosses over an important truth, one that we elaborated on in the Power Failure series back in 1991, but which I don’t stop often enough to explain any more: It’s that the Legislature, too, lacks the power to exert any effective control over state government. This leads to a government in which no one is in charge, and no one can be held accountable.

There was a time, long ago — pre-WWII, roughly, and maybe for awhile between then and the 1960s, which saw expansions of government programs on a number of levels — when lawmakers actually could run executive agencies, at least in a loose, informal way. On the state level, agencies answered to boards and commissions whose members were appointed by lawmakers. On the local level, they ran things more directly, calling all the shots. This was before county councils were empowered (more or less) in the mid-70s.

But as state agencies grew, they became more autonomous. Oh, they kept their heads down and didn’t anger powerful lawmakers, especially at budget time, but there was generally no effective way for legislators to affect their day-to-day operations. And while lawmakers appointed the members of boards and commissions, they lacked the power to remove them if they did something to attract legislative ire.

And on the local level, the advent of single-member districts broke up county delegations as coherent local powers. Yes, we have vestiges of that now — the Richland County elections mess is an illustration of this old system, as is the Richland recreation district and other special purpose districts, all legislative creations — but largely, they’re out of the business of running counties.

Increasingly in recent decades, the main power wielded by the Legislature has been a negative power — the ability to block things from happening, rather than initiate sweeping changes. And that’s what the General Assembly is best at — blocking change, for good or ill. That’s why the passage of this Department of Administration bill is such a milestone.

Anyway, while he doesn’t say all that stuff I just said, in this clip, Sheheen shows that he understands that no one is actually in charge, and that someone needs to be, so that someone can be held accountable. Or at least, that’s the way I hear it.

You may wonder why I think it remarkable that a state senator would exhibit such understanding of the system. Well… that’s just rarer than you may think.

A bit of Saudi humor: ‘No Woman, No Drive’

The WashPost brought this to my attention:

Saudi Arabian performer Hisham Fageeh, well known on the Arabic-speaking Web for his funny YouTube videos, which often contain a degree of social commentary, has posted a new video spoofing his country’s practice of forbidding women from attaining driver’s licenses. Fageeh parodies the Bob Marley song “No woman, no cry” with lyrics lampooning Saudi Arabia’s car-related gender restrictions, which Saudi women are challenging this week with a mass protest drive….

You know, if this guy can post stuff like this and live, maybe there’s hope for that part of the world.

Lou Reed as a young man, as seen by Warhol


Reacting to this news

Lou Reed, a massively influential songwriter and guitarist who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, died today on Long Island. The cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed underwent a liver transplant in May
With the Velvet Underground in the late Sixties, Reed fused street-level urgency with elements of European avant-garde music, marrying beauty and noise, while bringing a whole new lyrical honesty to rock & roll poetry. As a restlessly inventive solo artist, from the Seventies into the 2010s, he was chameleonic, thorny and unpredictable, challenging his fans at every turn. Glam, punk and alternative rock are all unthinkable without his revelatory example. “One chord is fine,” he once said, alluding to his bare-bones guitar style. “Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.”…

… I happened to remember the above video. It’s one of Andy Warhol’s “screen tests” that he did of various people who hung around The Factory back in the mid-’60s.

Basically, Warhol would turn a camera loaded with a short bit of film (about four minutes worth) onto one of his subjects, and just let that person be for that length of time.

Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips put 13 of those clips to music, and I saw their show at Spoleto in Charleston a couple of years back.

Somehow, their lyrics seem appropriate to express just how old we’ve gotten since Reed sat there drinking that Coke.

For some of Reed’s own music, I include the clip below…

Video of Benjamin campaign announcement

The Steve Benjamin campaign sent out this video of his announcement yesterday. I haven’t had time to watch it all myself — quite busy today — but I thought I’d make it available to you.

One thing that struck me in the minute or so that I did listen to — Benjamin wasn’t speaking as smoothly as he usually does. I guess he’s better speaking extemporaneously than he is reading a speech…

Dueling videos, opening shots in 2014 campaign

James Smith’s comments about Nikki Haley and “corruption” should also be taken within the context of the above ad from the Democratic Governor’s Association.

Meanwhile, with the video below, Haley supporters show that they want to run against Barack Obama again. But at least this ad mentions Sheheen, which is something.

How do the ads strike me? As I indicated earlier, I’m a little leery of the word “corruption.” Yeah, Nikki Haley has a serious transparency problem, she’s not very good at paying her taxes on time, and that $40k she got from Wilbur Smith when she was in the House raises a questions that have not yet been answered. But “corruption” is a word I tend to use for something more overt, more red-handed. Early in my career, back in Tennessee, I saw out-and-out corruption — Gov. Ray Blanton selling pardons. He went to prison for it. Maybe that made me overly fussy. The things the DGA are citing here are real problems, and they provide us with plenty of reason not to vote for Nikki Haley; I’m just quibbling over the word.

The Sheheen/Obamacare ad is just disgraceful. But then, so is the governor’s position of refusing to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid, so I see it entirely in that context. For me, her position is indefensible, so the ad is as well. Then there’s that additional ugliness of playing to the fact that “Obama” is the boogeyman to so many white voters in South Carolina. “Obamacare” is used as an incantation, with the operative ingredient being “Obama,” not the “care.” The issue is secondary to the fact that that awful Obama person is associated with it.

Is Mark Sanford entitled to equal time on Comedy Central?

I thought this question, posed on Slatest, was intriguing:

As the faux-conservative Colbert Report host, Stephen Colbert has lampooned campaign finance laws and the U.S. electoral system by starting his own super PAC and announcing bids for the presidency and “the president of the United States of South Carolina.” But another Colbert—this one with a hard t at the end—is also vying for the political spotlight: Elizabeth Colbert Busch, Stephen’s older sister, who’s facing off against avid Appalachian Trail hiker and former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford in a May 7 special election for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. Colbert has twice devoted show segments to his sister’s campaign, including one endorsing her candidacy, and has mocked Sanford on countless occasions. With the show’s nightly viewership of 1.5 million and the documented “Colbert bump” in a politician’s support after an appearance, is Colbert violating election laws by blending his hosting role with his sister’s campaign?

Probably not. The central law in play is the Federal Communications Commission’s equal-time rule. Beginning with the Radio Act of 1927, which Congress enacted in response to fears of broadcasters’ ability to sway elections by limiting a candidate’s access to the airwaves, radio and television networks have been required to offer equal airtime (or opportunities to purchase advertising at a reduced price) to all candidates if they request it. Exemptions were later added for documentaries, newscasts, news interviews, and on-the-spot news events.

Since it covers news stories and political issues, The Colbert Report would likely fall under the newscast or news interviews exceptions…

Really? I would have thought it was entertainment.

In any case, I’ve always found the equal-time rule sort of hard to follow. And now that we have “news shows” that are entirely satire, how would you go about giving equal time, anyway? And if you gave it, how could you be assured it would be to the advantage of the one demanding it? When everything is dealt with ironically, how do you make sure your equal time is quality time? Make it an infomercial, so you have total control? Maybe. I don’t know. But even that could backfire, as Comedy Central viewers go there for smart-aleck, not for earnest.

What do y’all think?


I really MUST start paying more attention to sports: Michelle Jenneke video

Probably everybody else out there saw this last year, but since I’m not much of one to follow sports, I missed it.

The way I ran across it was… bizarre. Trying to do research for this previous post, I was watching this excruciatingly boring video, and when it was done, YouTube took pity on me and suggested the Michelle Jenneke clip.

At first, I thought it was just a music video. Then, I realized that it was actual footage of an actual athlete warming up.

It really made me smile. And I don’t mean in a dirty old man way. After all, this girl is younger than any of my daughters.

No, I shared it with my wife, and she saw it, too. What an amazing endorsement of life.

The only bad feeling it engenders is envy. Look at her. What would it be like to feel that good, that young, that fit, that strong, that ready — even for a moment? I don’t think I ever felt like that, including when I was her age.

But setting the envy aside, she’s inspiring. Makes you want to embrace life. I may actually get on my elliptical trainer (which sits, neglected, a few feet away as I type this) before the day is out, and see it I can get enough endorphins flowing to feel one fraction of the way she seems to feel in that video.

But I’m not going to try to warm up like that first. I would probably hurt myself. Besides, it wouldn’t look as good on me…

Now, spokesman says Sanford DIDN’T eat those piglets

OK, so now, supposedly, what Sanford said on TV this morning was a joke:

CHARLESTON, SC — Remember those pigs former Gov. Mark Sanford brought into the State House nine years ago to protest “pork barrel spending” in the state budget?

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday morning, fresh off of his victory in Tuesday’s Republican primary in the 1st congressional district, Sanford said the pigs were “barbecued.”

“Unfortunately, they were barbecued,” Sanford said. “They were great little guys.”

A Sanford spokesman later clarified that Sanford was joking, adding that Sanford did not eat the pigs. (An earlier version of this story said that Sanford did eat them.)

And an earlier version of this blog post said the same, because, well, silly me, I figured the ex-governor was telling the truth to the world. This belief prompted me to say the following:

So… The piglets were supposed to symbolize government waste. Do they no longer qualify as “waste” if you make a meal out of them?

Presumably, he changed clothes — since the pigs had daubed him with literal waste — before firing up the grill.

Twice now, Mark Sanford has huffed and puffed and blown the house down, eating the thoughtless little pigs within.

It remains to be seen whether Elizabeth Colbert Busch can build a house out of bricks before he does it a third time.

I was on a roll there for a minute. But now… well, never mind. I especially like Joel’s attempt to be all self-righteous over this:

“The governor made a joke that apparently was lost on members of the media, who seem unable or unwilling to write about issues that voters actually care about,” Joel Sawyer said.

Yeah, right, Joel. It’s the media who have a penchant for silly, distracting stunts. He says this on behalf of a man who, in the name of fiscal responsibility, hauled two squealing, defecating piglets into the lobby to ruin a new carpet (OK, sort of new — see below) that was part of a multi-million-dollar restoration of the State House.

Lesson (too late) for Romney: Always thank the servers

47 percent

HuffPost has been talking to the bartender who shot the infamous “47 percent” footage that did so much to undermine Mitt Romney last year.

Here’s what he said about how it happened:

The man, who tended bar for a company that catered to a high-end clientele, had previously worked at a fundraiser at a home where [Bill] Clinton spoke. After Clinton addressed guests, the man recalled, the former president came back to the kitchen and thanked the staff, the waiters, the bartenders, the busboys, and everyone else involved in putting the event together. He shook hands, took photos, signed autographs, and praised the meal—all characteristic of the former president.

When the bartender learned he would be working at Romney’s fundraiser, his first thought was to bring his camera, in case he had a chance to get a photo with the presidential candidate. Romney, of course, did not speak to any of the staff, bussers or waiters. He was late to the event, and rushed out. He told his dinner guests that the event was off the record, but never bothered to repeat the admonition to the people working there.

One of them had brought along a Canon camera. He set it on the bar and hit the record button.

The bartender said he never planned to distribute the video. But after Romney spoke, the man said he felt he had no choice.

“I felt it was a civic duty. I couldn’t sleep after I watched it,” he said. “I felt like I had a duty to expose it.”

As Huffington suggests, Obama owes Clinton on this one…

Hoffman: Another TV ad from the 1st District

Looked at from this distance, the contest for the 1st Congressional District GOP nomination has looked like a case of Sanford sitting atop the name-recognition hill, and Larry Grooms exerting the most energy trying to take it from him.

A third candidate I keep hearing from (and let me remind you that my perspective is skewed by the fact that I keep hearing from this guy and Grooms; others could be running just as hard but not making the effort to let me know about it) is Jonathan Hoffman.

No, I hadn’t heard of him, either, so of course he’s running a standard “I’m not a politician” campaign. To the extent that is appealing, he certainly has an advantage over Sanford and Grooms.

But this new TV ad tells me next to nothing. It shows him in uniform, and I thank him for his service. It shows him with the last Republican president. He uses the word “conservative” only once in 30 seconds, which by Republican primary standards shows extraordinary restraint. Of course, he uses other phrases that suggest such values to the base, such as “small business owner.”

And he makes the usual dubious claims that Republicans in SC tend to believe as gospel, such as:

  • He wants to be elected “to take on out-of-control spending and the growth of government.” Compared to what absolute measure, I find myself wondering. It’s interesting to contrast this belief to what I read this morning in the libertarian Economist, which, after asserting that “By most measures Mr Obama’s positions have been rather moderate,” notes that the public now is in a more conservative mood: ”The conservative idea that spending must be cut is taken for granted, even though government spending is already lower in America than in most advanced economies.” Did you catch that? Looked at from outside, the U.S. government is not some out-of-control behemoth. It is only that to people who choose to believe it is.
  • Then there’s this chestnut: “let’s get back to constitutionally limited government.” Something that, of course, we’ve never left. He doesn’t have to explain what he means because no on in the GOP base would challenge him on it. Me, I want details. Back during the Bush administration, Democrats would say this very same silly thing. They were usually referring to the Patriot Act and other post-9/11 measures that Democrats as well as Republicans voted for and legally passed, under lawmaking provisions of our, ahem, Constitution. Now, Republicans generally mean something like Obamacare. Which, according to the GOP-appointed Chief Justice and a majority on the Supreme Court, is constitutional. Or is he referring to killing U.S. citizens with drones and without the benefit of due process? If so, I’d like to hear him square that with is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with President Bush in fighting the Global War on Terror, which the current president is only guilty of pursuing a tad more aggressively than his predecessor, casting drones far and wide and putting boots on the ground in the very heart of Pakistan.

Mind you, I’m not being critical of Mr. Hoffman. He’s not doing a thing that pols of both parties don’t do in this ridiculously facile medium, the 30-second ad. It would be practically impossible for him to answer the questions he raises in my mind within that format.

But these ads aren’t meant to answer questions. They are meant to communicate, in the most minimalist, Gestalten flicker, a set of emotions along the lines of “he’s like me,” or “I trust that man.” So they deal not in facts, but in presumptions, ones that are shared, even if they fly in the face of reality.

Grooms’ ads are the same. Sanford’s go a bit farther, because so much is known about him, and some of what is known is problematic and has to be addressed. But it is of course addressed in the most emotional, simplistic kind of way, merely communicating, “You must not hold it against him.” Why? Because “I trust that man, despite all.”

But it is on these extremely thin, grossly inadequate bases that we decide elections in this country.


Grooms running hard to catch Sanford in 1st District

From where I sit, up here in Columbia (admittedly not the best vantage point), the person who seems to be running the hardest to catch Mark Sanford in the 1st Congressional District GOP primary is state Sen. Larry Grooms.

A day doesn’t pass that Hogan Gidley — last seen in these parts acting as spokesman for Rick Santorum — doesn’t send me a release or two on his behalf. Several in recent days have boasted about Tea Party congressmen Mick Mulvaney and Jeff Duncan endorsing him.

And this is the second TV ad for Grooms I’ve seen. Here’s the first.

Of course, it doesn’t really say anything to distinguish Grooms from anyone else (typical line from the ad: “I’m a pro-life Christian conservative who knows DC spends too much”), but when’s the last time you saw originality in one of these things?

My Top Ten favorite ads from the 2013 Super Bowl

To hundreds of millions of Americans, today is the day after Super Sunday. To me, it’s Monday. (Hey, if I were a football fan I’d use those Roman numbers instead of “2013″ in my headline.)

Still, I took some time this morning to look at the ads from the big event last night for the ADCO blog, and following are the ones I put in my Top Ten. (“Top Ten” may not sound very selective, until you reflect that there were 47 of them. Really.)

Here were my admittedly simplistic, off-the-top-of-my-head criteria:

  1. Does it sell the product?
  2. If it features a celebrity, does it make good use of that star power (or is it just a gratuitous appearance)?
  3. Is it original, clever, creative, witty, funny, whatever?

Anyway, here’s my list:

  1. Time Warner Cable: “Walking Dead” — Definitely sells the product, and most awesome use of star power: Isn’t Daryl everybody’s favorite “Walking Dead” survivor? “Yes, ma’am.” See video above.
  2. Mercedes: “Soul” — Great casting (nobody else can do that evil look like Willem Dafoe), and only Martin Scorsese has made better use of the Stones’ music. I was wondering how they were going to get out of the trap of the Mercedes actually being a devilish temptation; it was handled deftly, by punching the car’s (relative) low price.
  3. Dodge: “Farmer” — Accomplished what the “Jeep” one tried to do, and did it in an unexpected way. This one is the rightful successor to the much-maligned, but remembered, Clint Eastwood one.
  4. Kraft MiO Fit: “Liftoff” — I’m gonna miss that character. Or maybe not. Good thing we have Netflix. My favorite line of his from last episode of “”30 Rock”: When he calls a computer “the pornography box.”
  5. Volkswagen: “Get Happy” — Not a match for the Darth Vader kid, but a laudably original attempt.
  6. Samsung: “The Next Big Thing” — Two of Judd Apatow’s stars took it to one level, Saul from “Breaking Bad” took it to the next.
  7. Toyota: “Wish Granted” — Funny. Good star power. Give it a B+.
  8. Go Daddy: “Big Idea” — Had the hurdle of communicating (to the remaining millions who don’t have their own websites) what Go Daddy, does; jumped over it nicely. Far better than the other GoDaddy ad that everybody’s on about.
  9. Hyundai Turbo: “Stuck Behind” — Loved the “Breaking Bad” reference, if that’s what it was (the guy in the hazmat suit).
  10. Budweiser: “Brotherhood” — Deftly evokes the question, “Can a really big horse be man’s best friend?” (See video below.)


‘Demand a Plan’ actors part of problem?

My favorite celebrity Twitter follower, Adam Baldwin, brings my attention to the above video, which is an answer to the below video, in which various Hollywood types demand a plan for ending gun violence.

Ouch. As a demonstration of just how pervasive gun violence is in our popular culture, the answering video packs a lot of punch…