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Member since: Thu Oct 21, 2004, 06:06 PM
Number of posts: 16,582
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ATLANTA (The Borowitz Report)—The Coca-Cola Company ignited a firestorm of controversy on Sunday with a Super Bowl ad that appeared to make the inflammatory claim that other languages besides English exist.
From coast to coast, viewers reacted with outrage and horror to what many were calling the most incendiary Super Bowl ad in history.
“I was enjoying the Super Bowl with my family, and suddenly, out of nowhere, comes this ad suggesting that there are other languages that aren’t English,” said Carol Foyler, a mother of three from Akron, Ohio. “I grabbed the remote and turned it off. My kids shouldn’t be exposed to garbage that’s just going to confuse them.”
The Alliance for Responsible Advertising, a conservative watchdog group that monitors advertising it considers offensive and unfit for family viewing, issued a statement demanding that Coke apologize for the controversial ad and promise never to air it again.
“Last night, Coke assaulted millions of Americans with its misguided and inappropriate view that other languages exist,” the statement said. “In the future, we strongly hope that Coke will keep its crazy theories to itself.”
Posted by Mira | Mon Feb 3, 2014, 03:27 PM (7 replies)
Philip Seymour Hoffman's Final Secret
The cost of holding up a mirror to those who could barely stand to look at themselves
By Tom Junod on February 2, 2014
I had two contradictory but complementary responses to the news that Philip Seymour Hoffman had died of a drug overdose at the suddenly tender age of 46 — two responses, that is, beyond how terrible and damn, he was great.
The first was that there was no way Hoffman had died with a syringe still in his arm — no way that an actor who brought such finicky dignity to his portrayal of the most desperate characters had permitted himself to die so ruthlessly unmasked.
The second was that of course he had died in such a sordid manner — how else was Philip Seymour Hoffman supposed to die? There was no actor, in our time, who more ably suggested that each of us is the sum of our secrets…no actor who better let us know what he knew, which is that when each of us returns alone to our room, all bets are off. He used his approachability to play people who are unacceptable, especially to themselves; indeed, his whole career might be construed as a pre-emptive plea for forgiveness to those with the unfortunate job of cleaning up what he — and we — might leave behind. The only way that Philip Seymour Hoffman could have died in a manner more consistent with the characters he created would have been if he had died by auto-erotic asphyxiation.
And in the extermity of these two responses was, I think, the essence of Hoffman’s art.
He often played creeps, but he rarely played them creepily. His metier was human loneliness — the terrible uncinematic kind that has very little to do with high-noon heroism and everything to do with everyday empathy — and the necessary curse of human self-knowledge. He held up a mirror to those who could barely stand to look at themselves and invited us not only to take a peek but to see someone we recognized. He played frauds who knew they were frauds, schemers who knew they were schemers, closeted men who could only groan with frustrated love, heavy breathers dignified by impeccable manners, and angels who could withstand the worst that life could hand out because they seemed to know the worst was just the beginning. And what united all his roles was the stoic calm he brought to them, the stately concentration that assured us that no matter whom Philip Seymour Hoffman played, Philip Seymour Hoffman himself was protected.
That’s what I thought, anyway — in reading the early reports of his death, I was surprised that he’d battled the demon of addiction, because I’d always confused Hoffman’s mastery with detachment, and assumed that he had lived by Flaubert’s charge to live an orderly life so that he could be violent and original in his work. But I shouldn’t have been surprised, and — here’s that contradictory and complementary response again — I wasn’t. I’d never met Philip Seymour Hoffman, never knew anyone who knew him, never even read a passably revealing magazine profile of him. All I really knew was that he was a character actor who came as close to being a movie star as character actors ever get, and that he played the lead in more Hollywood movies than any other portly, freckly, gingery man in human history. And that, in its way, is all I, or anyone else, needs to know.
We live in the golden age of character actors — in an age when actors who have done their time in character roles are frequently asked to carry dark movies and complicated television dramas. The line between character actors and movie stars is being erased — in art, anyway, if not in life. In life, it’s different, because the “movie star” remains not just the product of looks and charm, but also a kind of social construct, with very distinct social obligations. Character actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman and James Gandolfini have found themselves getting more and more leading roles because they are permitted to behave onscreen in ways that George Clooney and Matt Damon never could. But the same permission extends offscreen, and that’s where we see the cost; indeed, we pay to look at men who look like us only when they convince us that that they live in psychic spaces that we could never endure…unless, of course, we happen to be enduring them.
Would Matt Damon ever be found dead, with a syringe still hanging from his arm? Would George Clooney essentially eat himself to death? No, for the simple fact they both have way too much to lose. But neither would they permit themselves to be weepily jerked off by Amy Adams, as Philip Seymour Hoffman was, in The Master, or to crawl as far into his own dead eyes as James Gandolfini regularly did in The Sopranos. The great character actors are now the actors whose work has the element of ritual sacrifice once claimed by the DeNiros of the world, as well as the element of danger— the actors who thrill us by going for broke. It should be no surprise when, occasionally, they break, or turn out to be broken. RIP.
Posted by Mira | Mon Feb 3, 2014, 10:21 AM (3 replies)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (The Borowitz Report)—A “visibly troubled” man was spotted today outside MetLife Stadium just hours before the kickoff of Super Bowl XLVIII.
The man, his eyes darting about menacingly, alarmed passersby who were gathering at the Super Bowl venue.
Harland Dorrinson, who was participating in a pregame tailgating party, said he overheard the belligerent man making several “threatening remarks.”
“He said something like, ‘If I go down, I’m taking a lot of people with me,’” Mr. Dorrinson said. “He also said that someone was out to get him, but he was going to get him first.”
“He was ranting about how terrible this person was, saying, ‘Everything our high-school social studies teacher said was true,’” Mr. Dorrinson added. “It was the ravings of a madman.”
Calling the man “really scary and dangerous,” Mr. Dorrinson said he hoped that authorities would take the troubled individual into custody before the big game begins.
“He’s clearly angry and out of control,” he said. “A guy like that shouldn’t be in a position where he can do other people harm.”
Posted by Mira | Sun Feb 2, 2014, 04:03 PM (11 replies)
Issa tried to be funny, hog time and attention - but this time he could not do it. He was outclassed and way less smart than the rest of the panel.
It was a joy to behold - the MadMan lookalike was hopelessly floundering.
Ronan Ferrell: excellent. Informed. Concise. Knew how to get the floor.
The Canadian woman is brilliant, and also knows how to get the floor.
Bill was not to be overrun in the least and was mildly putting down Issa all the time like a slow running but reliable train.
The British guy - Merchant - brought in his 9 and a half foot (I'm guessing) frame. His shoulders were the same level as the top of Maher's head, he criticized our gun laws, our lack of addressing global warning (why can't we pretend it's real and do something about it, even if we don't believe in it - at least that way we aren't fucked in the end.......something like it, anyway). He was a great addition.
But the best guest, brilliant and ever so impressive in his views and discourse was the writer of the film "12 years a slave". I've read the book months ago, and realize he had a good honest story to work with told by the man it happened to. He took it, written in 1852 and made it phenomenal as a film today. And he brought to us the realization that slavery is not over, is still happening, even here.
I'm excited about this fine show today, and am typing without correction just to get you to watch the repeat.
I was worried about Issa. And it was not necessary this time. He is losing steam, his failed attempts at grabbing attention with dumb humor prove it.
Posted by Mira | Fri Jan 31, 2014, 11:10 PM (17 replies)
HBO Real Time Guests: Fri. Jan. 31, 2014
Rep. Darrell Issa
Ronan Farrow & John Ridley
John Ridley is the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave, based on the memoirs of Solomon Northup. He also wrote and directed the Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side, which opens in May. He was recently interviewed by CNN’s Becky Anderson about the process of depicting slavery in film.
10 pm HBO - tonight / repeat at 11 pm
Posted by Mira | Fri Jan 31, 2014, 08:22 PM (9 replies)
TRENTON (The Borowitz Report)—Responding to fresh charges that he knew about the controversial lane closures on the George Washington Bridge last fall, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today asked for the public’s patience while he makes up a new story.
“Today you have heard some allegations that are shocking and explosive,” he told reporters at a hastily called press conference. “All I ask is that the people of the great state of New Jersey give me sufficient time to invent a new story that explains my way out of this.”
Governor Christie said that he had spent the past few hours in closed-door meetings trying to come up with a new narrative that absolves him of any guilt in the bridge scandal, but while he was definitely denying the allegations, “so far, we don’t have a winner.”
“We’ve been tossing around everything from my not remembering events correctly to my having a bad reaction to medication,” he said. “We even floated the idea of my being under too much pressure and having to ‘blow off steam.’ As I said, we don’t have a winner yet. But I want to reassure the people of New Jersey that I am working very hard on this.”
The Governor said he understood that “things don’t look very good for me right now,” but he urged the public against rushing to judgment, adding, “I will get back to you with a well-crafted and plausible story as soon as possible.”
Posted by Mira | Fri Jan 31, 2014, 07:56 PM (9 replies)
On Tuesday night, in the State of the Union address, President Obama treated Congress like an ambivalent lover: He didn’t quite break up with the Hill, but he did make it clear that the relationship wouldn’t be repaired anytime soon. Sure, he’d still be willing to hook up occasionally and enact legislation, but he’d also be O.K. if they went their separate ways.
The speech repeatedly used a device to make this point. At the outset, after some hokey anecdotes about American workers—a teacher, an autoworker, a farmer—Obama made a clear statement about his policy goals for the year, a basket of ideas “to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class.” He explained each idea and included two options: a path on which Congress joined him to pass legislation and one on which he acted alone.
While most State of the Union speeches showcase the President making strident demands for Congress to enact his agenda, Obama exuded the sense that he had moved beyond the chamber’s pathologies and dysfunctions. He set the tone early in the speech, when he talked about energy policy. He said that he would use his own authority to “cut red tape” and to help states to build factories that use natural gas. As for Congress? Obama did not call on lawmakers to pass his energy bill; instead, he simply offered a suggestion: “This Congress can help by putting people to work building fuelling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas.”
He added that he would appreciate an infrastructure bill, but if that was too big a lift for Congress he would “act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible.”
And Congress shouldn’t think that Joe Biden needs it, either. The Vice-President, Obama said, would be reviewing federal job-training programs to make them more efficient—strictly an executive-branch thing. He allowed, almost as an afterthought, “If Congress wants to help, you can concentrate funding on proven programs that connect more ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.”
One could be excused for thinking that the President was using the oldest trick in the book: trying to make his old partner jealous of his new one (in this case, the executive order). To be sure, there were some of the more forceful demands that a President traditionally makes in a State of the Union. Obama insisted that “this Congress needs to restore” unemployment insurance, and he ordered lawmakers to “send me legislation that protects taxpayers from footing the bill for a housing crisis ever again.”
And, despite his emphasis on less grandiose initiatives, Obama didn’t actually abandon any of the big items on last year’s legislative agenda: tax reform, comprehensive immigration reform, gun control. He mentioned all of them. But, over-all, his tone of resignation and his laundry list of smaller ideas reflected a new sense of realism about the fact that there’s little on which he and House Republicans agree.
Obama now understands, like other Presidents before him, that the State of the Union is a giant con. The media builds it up as an evening with potentially transformative effects. The stagecraft, with the Commander-in-Chief addressing a sea of applauding congressmen, emphasizes the President’s alleged primacy in our political system. But it’s all just a show. The ratings for the event are in decline.
Besides, political scientists have made it clear that the speech rarely changes minds. It may even have the opposite effect. The act of making the speech often pushes partisans to cling more tightly to their preëxisting positions. (The very task of having to wait for Obama caused one Texas Republican to tweet, “On floor of house waitin on ‘Kommandant-In-Chef’… the Socialistic dictator who’s been feeding US a line or is it ‘A-Lying?’ ”)
Several generations of political leaders and journalists have been taught to believe that, in the words of the political scientist Richard Neustadt, “Presidential power is the power to persuade.” Presidents always come into office believing that, with bargaining, cajoling, and pure reason, they can bring members of Congress around to the idea that passing the White House’s agenda is in their interest. Obama believed this in his bones; his 2008 campaign was premised on it.
But modern political scientists have abandoned some of Neustadt’s core claims. They’ve settled on a far less exciting analysis, which casts the President as a more passive victim of circumstance who can do little to move Congress unless he already has a majority of votes. Instead of emphasizing the potential of great Presidential leadership and heroic abilities of persuasion, this more structural view emphasizes the limits of a system in which Congress and the President—despite the way it looked on TV on Tuesday night—are co-equal branches of government. Congress contains land mines that the White House has almost no ability to defuse: the extreme polarization of the House, based on a geographic sorting of the public; the rural-state tilt in the Senate that gives Republicans an advantage; the filibuster, and more.
It has taken Obama years to transform from a Neustadtian into a structuralist, but last night marked the completion of the cycle. That metamorphosis has forced the White House to think hard about how Obama can effect change on his own, and it’s one reason that the President recently asked John Podesta to come aboard. (Podesta, who has long advised the White House to use more executive authority, watched the speech with other top Obama aides from the back of the chamber. He seemed pleased.)
It’s prudent to be skeptical when listening to the White House’s new claims about what it can accomplish without Congress. After all, if Presidents could solve America’s biggest problems on their own, they would. But every modern President pushes the boundaries of executive authority, and Obama laid out some creative ideas last night that are not just token reforms. For instance, his climate-change policies—which rely on E.P.A. regulations—can be implemented with no input whatsoever from Congress, though of course Congress can try to undo them. Obama also hinted that he may use his pen to preserve more wilderness and other sensitive lands, an environmental tool that Bill Clinton often used, but which Obama has not. His push to encourage businesses and states to raise the minimum wage and his own executive order to raise the minimum wage for future federal contractors are not trivial. He has wide latitude to reform the practices of the N.S.A.
But many of the other actions that he outlined will have limited impact. The White House can’t implement gun control by fiat, and it can’t fix the tax code or repair the immigration system on its own. Obama’s new realism is necessary and appropriate, but at some point this year he will need to rekindle his relationship with Congress.
Posted by Mira | Thu Jan 30, 2014, 12:16 PM (0 replies)
Posted by Mira | Wed Jan 29, 2014, 05:36 PM (4 replies)
Too cold to stay out at 18 degrees. We are not used to this, bless our hearts.
But I took this photo as proof, and one more I may use in the contest (different subject, just in case the contest is blind )
Posted by Mira | Tue Jan 28, 2014, 03:30 PM (19 replies)
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) — As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union address tonight, congressional Republicans are promising to respond with what they call their grumpiest faces ever.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) confirmed that the G.O.P. have been practicing in front of mirrors for weeks in the hopes of creating just the right grouchy-face look for the TV cameras.
“Tonight, President Obama is going to lay out his vision for this country,” he said. “We owe it to the American people to look like someone just pissed in our cornflakes.”
For some, the task of looking crabby “is just another day at the office,” said Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), widely viewed by his fellow-Republicans as the reigning sourpuss in Congress.
“It’s a gift I have,” he said. “It’s one of the perks of being a steaming cauldron of spite.”
Perhaps the most sustained performance of sulkiness will fall to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who will be seated behind the President and therefore will be on camera for the entire duration of the address.
“There’s a lot of pressure on me to look sullen for an entire hour, but I’m up to it,” he said. “It helps that I will be in the same room with so many people I despise.”
Posted by Mira | Tue Jan 28, 2014, 02:18 PM (0 replies)