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, 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.
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.
As the faux-conservative Colbert Reporthost, 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 twicedevoted 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, TheColbert 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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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?
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:
Does it sell the product?
If it features a celebrity, does it make good use of that star power (or is it just a gratuitous appearance)?
Is it original, clever, creative, witty, funny, whatever?
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.
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.
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.”
Toyota: “Wish Granted” — Funny. Good star power. Give it a B+.
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.
Hyundai Turbo: “Stuck Behind” — Loved the “Breaking Bad” reference, if that’s what it was (the guy in the hazmat suit).
Budweiser: “Brotherhood” — Deftly evokes the question, “Can a really big horse be man’s best friend?” (See video below.)
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey took an unscheduled break from partisan attacks on the President Obama on Tuesday to praise him, repeatedly and effusively, for leading the federal government’s response to the storm.
“Wonderful,” “excellent” and “outstanding” were among the adjectives Mr. Christie chose, a change-up from his remarks last week that Mr. Obama was “blindly walking around the White House looking for a clue.”
Some of Mr. Christie’s Republican brethren have already begun grumbling about his gusher of praise at such a crucial time in the election.
But the governor seemed unconcerned. When Fox News asked him about the possibility that Mitt Romney might take a disaster tour of New Jersey, Mr. Christie replied:
I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I have a job to do in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.
A governor who cares more about serving his (or her) state more than national partisan politics? Imagine that. If you live in South Carolina, you might find that difficult, but try…
Speaking of words, I need to warn you of the use of offensive languagein this video. Which, like the one I posted earlier, I cannot embed. (All together now: I. Hate. Facebook.)
But since all sorts of strong opinions are being expressed back and forth on the violence in Five Points, I thought I’d share this one, which is… very passionate, to say the least.
I’d not agreeing with this guy, and I’m not disagreeing with him. I just thought this was one of the most interesting comments I’d heard so far. I like it because it’s idiosyncratic. It doesn’t fit into any boxes, at all. Just a man with a very strong opinion.
I apologize again, in advance, for his language, which is of a sort that I don’t normally allow here. But I thought I’d point you to a part of the dialogue you might have missed…
I got a release from Lindsey Graham last night — I’m just now getting to it in my email — that quoted the senator as saying the following:
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a leading Republican voice on foreign policy, launched a sharp attack against the Obama administration on Wednesday, saying the president’s lack of leadership would “lead to an explosion in the Middle East.” … The American disengagement, lack of leadership, and leading from behind is leading to uncertainty and doubt on all fronts. … There is no substitute for leadership by the United States and every group within the region is uncertain about who we are and what we believe.”
The thing is, when I watched the accompanying video, for the first few minutes I didn’t hear that sort of tone. Instead, the senator said the sorts of things I would expect a politician who cares about foreign policy to say. He talked about how this should not be allowed to weaken our strong ties to the new democratic leadership of Libya. He stressed that the attack — whether calculated or spontaneous — was the work of a tiny minority who do not reflect our relationship with that country.
He even expressed agreement with what Secretary of State Clinton had to say. And I like that, even though part of it may be the longtime mutual admiration society that Hillary and Lindsey have going.
Then, toward the end, he launched into the GOP talking points about the administration’s alleged failures. About the only thing I might agree with him on is that I wish we were acting more effectively to keep Assad from killing his own people in Syria.
But in his eagerness to criticize, the senator implied, if he did not exactly say, two things he should know are not true:
That somehow the mess of the last couple of days is the administration’s fault.
That the way forward in light of the ongoing “Arab Spring” movement is simpler and clearer than it is.
Given his respectful ties to some of the key people in the administration’s national security team, and the many areas of agreement he has with them, I would think Senator Graham would be hesitant to throw out the people he knows in favor of the uncertainties Romney would bring.
But that’s me engaging in wishful thinking, I guess. Just because Sen. Graham is occasionally an iconoclast, I like to tell myself he can be that all the time. Obviously, I’m not in charge of his re-election in two years…