All of y’all probably saw this already, but I would have missed it if Kathryn Fenner had not brought it to my attention via Facebook over the weekend.
Of course, Facebook being Facebook, I had to go hunting elsewhere to find an embed code. (I couldn’t even find it at the White House, which is where Kathryn had gotten it — apparently, they only posted it on FB — unless I’m just looking in all the wrong places on the website.)
It was great to see her back in the saddle. And seeing her as press secretary instead of chief of staff takes us to those wonderful days when Leo was still alive. Sigh…
I was a bit disappointed in her when she ducked the one question she got from the actual reporters assembled: “Who is President Bartlet supporting in the Democratic primary?”
But she ducked it with typical C.J. aplomb…
Allison Janney fields an actual question from an actual reporter in the actual West Wing.
This way: They keep calling me and saying, “You. Our place. 5:30. And bring a friend!” (See above video.)
OK, I’ll admit, they’re a LOT more polite about it than that, but if you boil it down, that’s the gist. They call and ask me to give again, and to schedule it at the earliest possible time (because the need is great). And at some point in the conversation, they say, “And bring a friend!”
So, this is me inviting my friends.
I’m scheduled to give platelets at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. And just in case I’m inclined to put it off in any way, they sent me an email yesterday that includes this image:
So I plan to be there, because the guilt trip thing works on me.
But why should it just be me? Nobility loves company.
I’ve been honest with y’all about the fact that giving platelets is a bit of a hassle — it takes at least a couple of hours. So it would be especially awesome if more of y’all would agree to do it, and take some of the pressure off of me.
That said, if you haven’t given blood at all before, I urge you to go and at least give whole blood, the easiest process of all (I’ve given whole blood in just over five minutes).
And now they’ve got a new thing where you can answer all those prying questions (like whether you’ve been paid for sex, even once…) online ahead of time, meaning less time spent at the Red Cross facility on Bull Street.
A Texas school police officer who became enmeshed in controversy after he was captured on video seemingly body-slamming a sixth-grade girl has been fired from the San Antonio Independent School District.
District officials said officer Joshua Kehm was terminated Monday amid an investigation into an incident last month at Rhodes Middle School, in which he appeared to restrain and then throw down 12-year-old Janissa Valdez.
“We understand that situations can sometimes escalate to the point of requiring a physical response; however, in this situation we believe that the extent of the response was absolutely unwarranted,” Superintendent Pedro Martinez said in a statement. “Additionally, the officer’s report was inconsistent with the video and it was also delayed, which is not in accordance with the general operating procedures of the police department….
The man once known as “America’s most notorious lobbyist” is speaking out in a new video for congressional term limits. Jack Abramoff now says “Congress will never be fixed without term limits” in a video produced for U.S. Term Limits’ “Term Limits Convention” campaign.
According to Abramoff, term limits would reduce special interests’ influence in Washington by disrupting their relationships with long-serving incumbents.
“When I was a lobbyist, I hated the idea that a congressman who I had bought with years of contributions would decide to retire,” Abramoff says. “That meant I had to start all over again with a new member, losing all the control I had bought with years of checks.”
Abramoff’s comments debunk the arguments made by anti-term limits politicians, who’ve long claimed that lobbyists like term limits.
“Career politicians often smear term limits by claiming lobbyists are for it,” said U.S. Term Limits President Philip Blumel. “But the opposite is true. Whenever lobbyists get involved in a term limits campaign, all of their money goes to the side trying to prevent, weaken or abolish term limits. That’s why we’re glad Jack Abramoff is speaking out.”
Abramoff’s video closes on this note, as he warns “if you want to see pigs screeching at the trough, tell them they can’t stay there forever. There’s no trough as dangerous as the one in Washington.”
The ex-lobbyist volunteered his opinions and was not compensated by U.S. Term Limits. His remarks will be used to raise awareness for the Term Limits Convention, a new campaign to term limit Congress using an Article V amendment convention.
The campaign, launched in January, requires 34 state legislatures to pass bills calling for term limits on Congress, before a convention can be called to propose a congressional term limits amendment. Florida was the first state to pass the resolution but several others are considering it now.
Of course, it doesn’t change my mind. I still have problems with telling the voters who they can and can’t re-elect if they so choose.
There are good arguments in favor of term limits — ones that I find more persuasive than Abramoff’s “everybody’s a crook like me” thesis. For instance, it might increase political courage — representatives daring to do the right thing, rather than the popular thing so they can get re-elected.
Most people who favor term limits think it would be a way to bind elected officials more to the popular will. They have it backwards. It could free them from slavish adherence to the popular idea of the moment. And that could be a could thing. It could also be a bad thing, if it freed pols to do something unpopular that was also a terrible idea.
But in any case, I remain unconvinced, and mostly for the reason that drives Doug the craziest: I believe that experience is valuable in public service, just as it is in every other field of human endeavor. And a mindless mechanism that would throw out the very best representatives along with the very worst is not a good idea.
Yes, that sounds a tad hyperbolic. Maybe it’s so awesome to me because I’m an abnormally huge fan of “Office Space.”
But… it’s just so spot on! It works so well! And it’s such frame-by-frame match with the original! The rapper is so authentic-sounding! Very nicely done.
I’ll admit that I was a bit slow on the uptake. For about two second, I wondered, Why are they smashing a CPU? (You’ll recall that, in the movie, it was a printer.)
And then I’m like, Oh! The email server!
Which made me appreciate it all the more…
Below is the original. Excuse the language. Yeah, the milder (but still N-word-laced) “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangster” was memorably used in a different scene. But it’s so closely associated with the movie that it works, beautifully, in the ad.
Remember, real gangsta-ass Clintons don’t flex nuts, ’cause real gangsta-ass Clintons know they got ’em…
Again, South Carolina makes national news, and again, it’s in a bad way.
It’s early in the discernment process, and we lack any context (whatever the context may be), but the extremely brief video is a kick in the gut, especially the instant when the desk flips backward in a way that almost seems to defy physical laws. It’s amazing that the student wasn’t injured, a fact we can only chalk up to the resilience of youth.
Here, from The State, are the skimpy facts, which tell us next to nothing:
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an incident between a school resource officer and a female student at Spring Valley High School on Monday, after a video showing a confrontation was posted online.
The female student and a male student were arrested for disturbing the peace, said Richland County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Curtis Wilson. The resource officer, Senior Deputy Ben Fields, has been placed on administrative duties with pay pending the investigation’s results, according to Wilson.
While Fields will work at the Sheriff’s Department, he won’t be performing any duties at area schools. In a statement, the Richland 2 school district said it had “directed the school resource officer not return to any school in the district.”
The video shows Fields approach the female student seated in a desk. The resource officer proceeds to place his left hand on the female student’s left arm, before putting his right arm around her neck. Fields then flips the desk over, with the student still seated, before spinning it around and forcibly removing the student and trying to restrain her at the front of the classroom.
Wilson said no one was injured in the incident – neither the students nor Fields.
Wilson said prior to what is shown in the video, the female student was asked to leave the classroom and refused. Wilson said that was when the resource officer was called in….
The official response to the incident seems appropriately cautious so far. The sheriff is out of town. The mayor wants an independent investigation. The school district’s one response, saying it doesn’t want that officer back in the classroom, seems appropriate under the circumstances.
All we have now is a video that shocks the viewer as much as it seems to have shocked the bystanders, who react not at all — their stillness is almost eerie — except for the one who shot these 15 seconds.
It comes from the “Yale Day” speech Biden delivered the day before the Ivy League school’s commencement, as he knew his son’s fight with cancer was unlikely to succeed. Beau Biden died two weeks after that speech.
Bill Castronuovo, also a former editor at The State, shared with me this video that he shot on July 1, 2000, the day that the Confederate flag atop the dome was lowered, and the new one raised behind the soldier monument on the State House grounds.
As you can see, it was not the most dignified of occasions. A lot of rebel yells: Including, oddly enough, when the one on the dome came down. Was that flag opponents cheering, paradoxically, in a Confederate fashion, or the neoConfederates cheering because they knew another one was about to go up, in a more visible location? Or maybe they liked seeing the American and state flags lowered with it. I don’t know, and there’s no way to tell.
Anyway, I think that anyone in the House who wants to replace the current flag with another one in this location, or to fly this flag at the museum, should watch this and contemplate it — and ask, “Do I really want another 15 years of this?”
There’s only one way to put this all behind us: Pass the Senate bill as is. And let’s move on.
When Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) celebrated his retirement from the Air National Guard last week after 33 years of military service, he was greeted at the ceremony by an unexpected guest: Vice President Joe Biden.
Though they hail from opposing parties, Graham and Biden have long had a close friendship, going back to their years serving together in the Senate. The South Carolina senator and 2016 Republican presidential candidate was particularly touched that the vice president attended his military sendoff.
Over the weekend, The Huffington Post spent a day with Graham on the campaign trail in Iowa for the latest installment of our original series, ’16 And President. We’ll have the full episode up next week, but the above clip is a short preview of what’s to come….
In it, our senior senator chokes up talking about Joe Biden, about whom Graham says:
If you can’t admire Joe Biden as a person, then it’s probably… you’ve got a problem. You need to do some self-evaluation. What’s not to like?… He’s THE nicest person I think that I’ve ever met in politics. He is as good a man as God ever created…
Buzzfeed posted these clips (you’ll have to follow the link; the embed code isn’t working) from an interview with Arkansas First Lady Hillary Rodham (she had not yet taken Bill’s name). Buzzfeed notes:
In 1979, a month into her tenure as Arkansas first lady, Rodham sat down for an interview with the Arkansas public affairs program In Focus. The interview, available on BuzzFeed News for the first time in decades, is among the earliest, and most open, glimpses of Clinton’s efforts to balance public and private life, a theme that has followed her long career. Archived in the special collections at the University of Arkansas, the nearly half-hour-long interview offers an insight into the future Hillary Clinton and her early attempts to navigate the tough waters as the wife of a political figure — while keeping her own identity and privacy.
As for the video — yeah, we looked funny back then.
In the interests of fairness — that is, embarrassing a Republican equally — I went out and dug up this image of Marco Rubio at around that same time.
Well, this is hilarious on a few different levels.
Stock video provider Dissolve has taken the text of Kendra Eash’s brilliant advertising takedown, “This Is a Generic Brand Video,” originally published by McSweeney’s, and set it to actual stock video clips.
The company explains: “The minute we saw Kendra Eash’s brilliant ‘This Is a Generic Brand Video’ on McSweeney’s, we knew it was our moral imperative to make that generic brand video so. No surprise, we had all the footage.”
The results, narrated by Dallas McClain, are outstanding. You’ve seen all of this footage in ads from major brands. It’s everywhere. And it’s great that a stock video house would so gleefully celebrate the soul-sucking manipulations for which its offerings are generally used.
Watch below, and have a great self-hating rest of your afternoon.
Be sure to adjust the setting to HD 1080, in order to fully enjoy the empty experience of viewing Dissolve’s awesome stock footage:
Well, it took me until Friday, because not only did I have a lot of much-higher-priority client work to do, but just to do this one thing meant finding time to track down and watch 54 TV adverts.
Yes, 54 of them. And I’m still not sure that I saw them all.
Anyway, here’s what I posted. Wherever it says “we,” substitute “I,” because these are all actually my opinions. As you can probably tell. Of course, I have extensive experience with the royal, I mean editorial, “we”…
After extensive research, we are ready to release our list of favorite ads from Super Bowl XLIX. (That is to say, the one that was played on Feb. 1, 2015, for those of you who don’t want to have to interpret Roman numerals and then add the number onto 1966 to figure out which one we’re talking about.)
This of course is an entirely subjective list, and you’ll have your own favorites, but hey — a list like this is just meant to be a conversation-starter, not a Final Judgment From On High.
Here are our top 10 — out of the 54 we saw:
Esurance “Say My Name” — For a brief, shining moment, Walter White was back among us. And he hadn’t changed a bit. “You’ll thank me later.”
Fiat “Blue Pill” — OK, so it’s a bit off-color. But it was funny, and we liked it. There weren’t enough this year that fit that description.
Dove “Men+Care” — We forced ourselves to choose just one of the three ads that promoted positive images of fathers. We picked this one because all those kids calling “Daddy” really got to us.
Turbo Tax “Boston Tea Party” — Surely there was a more peaceful way to settle this dispute over taxes. Or maybe not. All right, then…
Carnival “Return to the Sea” — So, it’s kind of cheating to play on our emotions with an inspiring voiceover from JFK. But it worked. Especially with that reverb.
Mozart was performing publicly at age 5. This kid has him beat by a couple of years:
Lyonya Shilovskya has been playing the drums ever since he can remember. The funny part is, since he’s only three years old, that time frame isn’t exactly the longest. Raised in Russia’s third most populous city, Novosibrisk, the young drummer first gained recognition on the Russian talent show “Minute of Fame,” which is similar to “America’s Got Talent”. Since then, he has become a bit of a sensation and his fame has skyrocketed.
Lyonya has occasionally taken the time to participate in various performances across Russia. On one such occasion, he was recorded playing “Orpheus in the Underworld” by Jacques Offenbach, better knows as “Can Can,” accompanied by an orchestra. His skill level is sure to amaze you.
I suppose that’s his Dad behind him. Might his name be Leopold?
I saw this when my wife posted it on Facebook, together with the message that she’s seriously thinking about getting our grandson, who is two-and-a-half, a drum set….
Just a little musical interlude to calm you down on this third day in Advent.
This was the last really great song recorded by The Band, from their largely unregarded 1975 album, “Northern Lights-Southern Cross.” For whatever reason, I didn’t even buy this one, so I had to discover the song in later compilations. I’ve been listening to it a lot in recent days, from a CD of The Band’s best that I bought at Walmart for $5.
“I thought about the song in terms of saying that time heals all wounds,” Robertson told interviewer Robert Palmer at the time of the song’s release. “Except in some cases, and this was one of those cases.” Yet writing the song was only half the battle with The Band. With three brilliant singers available, choosing between Richard Manuel, Levon Helm, and Rick Danko was never an easy task, although you really couldn’t go wrong.
Danko got the call, and his emotional performance, all wavering notes and reckless abandon, is the uncanny embodiment of a man driven to the end of his tether by his love’s absence. He gets interpretive assistance from his Band-mates, who give a typically intuitive performance. Garth Hudson’s stately but sad saxophone sounds like it has accepted defeat, while Robertson’s delirious guitar isn’t ready to give up just yet.
Robertson’s metaphors and similes are simple yet effective in showing the narrator’s inner torment. In the bridge, the imagery gets direr, all empty halls and stampeding cattle. As the song closes out, Danko uncorks his final lines with desperation dripping off every word: “Well I love you so much and it’s all I can do/Just to keep myself from telling you.” At that point, he is ironically joined by his good buddies Helm and Manuel on sympathetic harmony for the coup de grace: “That I never felt so alone before.”
Nobody did melancholic grandeur better than The Band, and there’s no topic more suited to that treatment than lost love, so it would have been an upset if “It Makes No Difference” hadn’t turned out so fine. Either you’ve been there before, in which case Robertson’s eloquent anguish will seem achingly familiar, or you haven’t, in which case Danko’s fearless vocal will act as a public service announcement on the merits of holding on to a good thing for dear life.