Thursday, December 19, 2013

Trailer Trash

Netflix has made a documentary called Mitt and released a trailer for it.  Emma Roller at Slate has the scoop.

And while it doesn’t contain any revelatory information about the Romney campaign, the trailer does show a side of the ever-composed candidate the electorate rarely saw in 2012.


We get a glimpse of the candidate his aides wish the public had gotten to see more—Romney ironing his suit, while he’s wearing it. Romney sleeping on the floor of a campaign bus. Romney cracking wise! “A recent poll said that 43 percent of Americans are not even sure who you are,” a newscaster intones on TV. “The flipping Mormon,” Romney drolly replies.

Yeah, I’ll put that up there on my to-watch list next to the “Adam Sandler Oscar-Nominations” and the Pauly Shore marathon.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

No Ads

This is a relief.

An appeals court has upheld a ban on political advertising on public broadcasting — reversing an earlier ruling by members of the same court.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, ruled against a public broadcaster seeking to have the ban overturned on 1st Amendment grounds. The broadcaster was also seeking to be able to run paid advertisements from for-profit companies.

Let’s not kid ourselves; most public radio stations have underwriter messages that border on being ads without actually having them.  While I understand the need for public radio stations to raise money any way they can, there’s something sacred about keeping it to the occasional fund-raiser (which some stations actually do very well, at least in terms of not being guilt-inducing and annoying).  Public radio is supposed to be commercial free, not just because it relieves the station of the task of blocking time to broadcast content in the middle of all the ads, but it gives them at least the illusion that they do operate, as my broadcasting history professor of forty years ago said, in the “public interest, convenience, and necessity.”

I’m glad to see that public radio stations will not be able to get paid advertising or — thank dog — political ads.  It would just make them like every other station, and besides, you can never have too many NPR tote bags.

That brings me to a tangential point: Why aren’t there ads here on this blog?  I have nothing whatsoever against ads on a blog, and I read and even write for those that do have ads and depend on the revenue for their survival.  But when I set up Bark Bark Woof Woof ten years ago, I made a semi-conscious decision not to solicit advertisers or accept them if offered.  It wasn’t out of some sense of moral superiority — dog help me if I should ever feel like that — but, to paraphrase the immortal Groucho Marx, I would not want to associate with a business that would want to advertise here.  (I do get the occasional solicitation from a bot that says “Hey, I read your post on ___________; very insightful!  Can I guest-post about something?”  The giveaway is that the post they find so insightful is “A Little Night Music” or “Short Takes.”  Depending on my mood, I either delete without comment or reply that I charge $50,000 for a guest post, payable in advance with a certified check.  Oddly enough, I never hear back from them.)

Not taking ads also meant that there would be no doubt whatsoever in the mind of the reader that there’s no influence on me as to what I write about.  (I assume that is part of the logic behind keeping public radio and TV ad-free.  The cynic in me knows that underwriters could exert some behind-the-scenes influence on what might be aired on PBS or NPR, but at least there is the patina of neutrality.)  That’s not to imply that blogs with ads are under the thrall of their sponsors; quite often bloggers who are patrons of some blog ad services don’t have much of a choice of what ads appear on their sidebars.  That explains why you might see an ad for the NRA on a left-wing blog.  I’ve asked around, and every blogger whose site has ads has told me that they don’t give a flying rat’s ass as to what ad shows up as long as the check clears.  It’s not that they don’t care or that all they’re interested in is the money; it has to do with the simple fact that for them running a blog costs money and they depend on the revenue.

I understand completely and don’t begrudge them a penny of it.  I am in a position where my costs are very low and am fortunate to have a technical adviser and supporter who donates the hosting cost to the cause.  I’m grateful for the support and grateful to be able to provide this humble effort to the reader without ads.

Speaking of donations, yes, I have a Donate button on the sidebar.  It is there for those who feel they would like to make a donation, which would go to the maintenance of the site such as my monthly internet service.  And there’s also the link to the Bark Bark Woof Woof Shop where you can buy shirts and tchotchkes.  Both are guilt-free for you and labeled appropriately as Shameless Self-Promotion.  (FYI, in the ten years the shop has been open, I have yet to generate enough revenue to get Cafe Press to send me a check.)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled reading.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Annals of Asshattery

When it comes to exploiting a national tragedy, no one does it better than us.  From ThinkProgress, the attacks of September 11, 2001 gave ground to some to make a buck.

Unfortunately, it is likely also the eleventh anniversary of the first ads trying to exploit this tragic anniversary to drive up sales. Past examples of this genre include 9/11 Memorial Commemorative Chardonnay, a mattress company touting itself as the cure to sleeplessness caused by terrorist attacks, and a craft store advertising its 9/11 sale: “Avoid Crafting Emergencies & Stock Up Now!

Commemorations included a round of golf for $9.11, a sports mascot in army fatigues waving a flag, and a hotel chain offering free muffins at the hour of the attack.  I’m sure there’s a car dealer out there somewhere who advertised big savings during their 9/11 sale.

And, of course, there’s the religious fanatics who like provoking other religious fanatics to outrage so when they react they can point and say how outraged they are.

MULBERRY, Fla. — A Florida pastor was arrested Wednesday as he drove a pickup truck towing a large barbecue-style grill filled with kerosene-soaked Qurans to a park, where the pastor had said he was planning to burn 2,998 of the Muslim holy books— one for every victim of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Sheriff’s deputies in Polk County, Fla., arrested Pastor Terry Jones, 61, and his associate pastor, Marvin Sapp Jr., 44, each on a felony charge of unlawful conveyance of fuel. Jones had said he was heading to a nearby park in Mulberry to burn the Qurans on Wednesday, the 12th anniversary of the attacks. Sheriff’s officials said that Jones was also charged with unlawful open-carry of a firearm, a misdemeanor, and that Sapp faces a charge of having no valid registration for the trailer.

Both were being booked Wednesday night into the Polk County jail, according to Sheriff Grady Judd.

The expired license plate is your metaphor du jour.

H.L. Mencken famously noted that no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.  We keep proving him right.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ad Bye

Marco Rubio doesn’t want you to know about Obamacare… at least that you can sign up for it.

In a letter sent Tuesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) demanded that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cancel a planned $8.7 million television ad buy to promote Obamacare.

The planned ad buy, which Rubio said had “been brought to my attention,” covers 16 metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Houston, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, St. Louis, Tampa, Charlotte, Harlingen (Texas), Brownsville (Texas), Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Nashville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Pittsburgh. The ads are expected to run from Sept. 30 to Dec. 1, according to Rubio’s office. Three buys toward the $8.7 million total, worth $200,000, have already been completed for Brownsville, Tampa and Nashville, Rubio’s office said.

Rubio is one of several congressional conservatives who have argued that the Obama administration can’t and shouldn’t use federal funding to promote participation in the programs created by the health care reform law.

Let’s make a deal:  HHS will pull the ads if FreedomWorks, Crossroads GPS, and all the other Koch Brothers’ sock-puppets pull their anti-Obamacare ads, too.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Begging For It

Either the Family Research Council really has no idea what goes on outside of their nice little 1950′s cocoon, or someone in their marketing department is a genius at coming up with not-so-subtle Freudian slips.

Here’s their new logo for their anti-gay rally:


Seriously?  “On our knees” and “I’m in”?  Well, whatever gets you off, buddy.

On the other hand, they could have gone with “I’m coming.”

HT to Americablog.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Racism: It’s What’s For Breakfast

If it’s true that we’re living in a post-racial America — as conservatives will constantly tell you — then putting up a cute little commercial with an interracial couple and their daughter selling breakfast cereal wouldn’t get noticed by anyone, right?


A nice Cheerios advertisement whose only discernible difference from other Cheerios commercials is that it depicts an interracial family was forced to disable its YouTube comments section today after it became inundated with virulent racism.

Despite the hate, Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing for Cheerios, told us in a statement, “Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all.”


This does not surprise me at all.  There are still a lot of people in this country who proclaim themselves to be completely race-free but still pass on the racist e-mails and still get worked up over the idea of “race-mixing” with integrated proms.  Most of the examples that we see today come from people who are on the conservative side of the aisle.   Yes, there are Democrats who pass on the same stupid e-mails.  Racism can be equal opportunity.  But the vast majority of them are from the right wing, and denying that is a part of the problem.   Their usual excuse was either they didn’t know it was racist — “Honest, I swear!” — or they’re angry that some people just don’t have a sense of humor and can’t take a joke, or that “political correctness” is ruining our country.

Part of the problem is that we enable this kind of crap.  We let a lot of people get away with it.  It’s one thing to have an honest disagreement with someone over policy issues, but when you hear political leaders, including members of the House and Senate, accuse Barack Obama of being “arrogant” and “dismissive,” you’re not too far from saying that he’s “uppity” and doesn’t know his place.  When you still have major party mouthpieces question his legitimacy to be president because of his place of birth — and yet claim that Sen. Ted Cruz, born in Canada, can be president — and when you hear people start a conversation with “I’m not racist, but,” you’re going to need more than just Cheerios to get your heart in the right place.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Teatime for Hitler


A tea kettle that bears a potential resemblance to Adolf Hitler has landed J.C. Penney in hot water.

hitler teapot

A California billboard advertising a Michael Graves-designed kettle for sale at the store has some wondering whether they are being saluted by the Nazi dictator instead of waiting for tea to heat up.

The billboard, first noticed by Reddit users near the 405 freeway in Culver City, had readers questioning whether the similarity was just a coincidence.

On Tuesday the company made it clear that any resemblance is completely “unintentional,” repeatedly tweeting the clarification at those curious about a Hitler connection.

“If we had designed it to look like something, we would have gone with a snowman or something fun,” the store tweeted at numerous followers.

But any resemblance to Hitler certainly hasn’t hurt business, according to J.C. Penney.

The $40 teakettle, noted for its “cool-touch handle, space-saving design and a delightful whistle,” has sold out online, the company tweeted in response to a tweet by comedian Patton Oswalt.

The teakettle is still available in stores, according to the store.

I think it looks more like Mel Brooks.



Friday, February 8, 2013

Cover Boy

This is one reason why I dropped my subscription to Time magazine:

Rubio Time 02-08-13

It’s People for politicians.

Charlie Pierce:

My money’s on the fact that, sooner or later, Time is going to regret this one bitterly. The scramble in the courtier press to revive the Republican brand because some Republicans are going out of their way to claim that they’re reviving the brand is one of the more unseemly journalistic escapades of recent years. It is all about whether New Slogans will sell. It is all about the careful nurturing of Bright New Stars (see above) or Young Old Favorites (There seems to be a move afoot to rebuild Paul Ryan as the Giant National Figure he was said to be before Willard Romney picked him and Ryan turned into Sarah Palin with barbells.). It is not in anyway about the fact that, young or old, famous or obscure, any Republican is still wedded to extremist ideology on things like the economy and the environment and the rights of women, and that some little head-fake toward common sense on immigration is not going to be enough to achieve liftoff, no matter how much hot air you blow into his image.

Four years from now, he’s going to be just another Republican.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lie of the Year

Fact-checker Politifact is problematic in a lot of what they do — Rachel Maddow has a long-running feud with them over their version of what is true or false — but this time I think they’ve got it right.

It was a lie told in the critical state of Ohio in the final days of a close campaign — that Jeep was moving its U.S. production to China. It originated with a conservative blogger, who twisted an accurate news story into a falsehood. Then it picked up steam when the Drudge Report ran with it. Even though Jeep’s parent company gave a quick and clear denial, Mitt Romney repeated it and his campaign turned it into a TV ad.

And they stood by the claim, even as the media and the public expressed collective outrage against something so obviously false.

People often say that politicians don’t pay a price for deception, but this time was different: A flood of negative press coverage rained down on the Romney campaign, and he failed to turn the tide in Ohio, the most important state in the presidential election.

PolitiFact has selected Romney’s claim that Barack Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China” at the cost of American jobs as the 2012 Lie of the Year.

And the competition was really tough, too.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Humble Pie

Elections have consequences.

It turns out that being a good corporate citizen is as important to selling pizzas as the thinness of the crust or the quality of the cheese.

If you don’t believe it, just ask Papa John CEO, John Schnatter.

As covered—and criticized—in this column in great detail, Mr. Schnatter decided to mix his politics with his pepperoni when suggesting that he would be cutting the work hours for Papa John employees in order to bring them below the 30 hour per week threshold that would require Schnatter to provide his employees with healthcare benefits.

It turns out, the pizza eating public did not approve.

Indeed, so serious was the reaction that Schnatter was forced to publish an op-ed piece where he sought to convince us that he never really intended to cut back worker hours but had simply been speculating on what he might do in response to the legislation.

According to YouGov BrandIndex,  a leading marketing survey that measures brand perception in the marketplace (called “Buzz”), Papa John’s had good reason for concern as the pizza chain’s brand identity has plummeted from a high of 32 on election day, to a remarkably low score of 4 among adults who have eaten at causal dining restaurants during the past month.


It also might have something to do with the fact that all the attention got people to notice that his product isn’t that great no matter what he said.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Short Takes

Gaza: Attacks continue as diplomats try for peace.

President Obama makes historic visit to Burma.

Feds crack down on shady mortgage ads.

Indianapolis house explosion seen as homicide.

The Twinkie may yet survive: bankruptcy court orders mediation between labor and management at Hostess.

South Florida home sales and prices were up in October.

Miami-Dade teachers and staff approve new contract.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


ABC News caught Mitt Romney meeting quietly with some of his friends on a yacht in Tampa Bay.

Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign toasted its top donors Wednesday aboard a 150-foot yacht flying the flag of the Cayman Islands.

The floating party, hosted by a Florida developer on his yacht “Cracker Bay,” was one of a dozen exclusive events meant to nurture those who have raised more than $1 million for Romney’s bid. [Emphasis added.]

Mr. Romney was just visiting some of his money while it was in town for the convention.


ABC News caught Mitt Romney meeting quietly with some of his friends on a yacht in Tampa Bay.

Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign toasted its top donors Wednesday aboard a 150-foot yacht flying the flag of the Cayman Islands.

The floating party, hosted by a Florida developer on his yacht “Cracker Bay,” was one of a dozen exclusive events meant to nurture those who have raised more than $1 million for Romney’s bid. [Emphasis added.]

Mr. Romney was just visiting some of his money while it was in town for the convention.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Don’t Insult These People

Following up on my post about not boycotting Chick-Fil-A, Think Progress has come up with a list of companies and brands that you would not want to insult or embarrass by giving them money.

This time it’s not about being LGBTQ, but I am sure they don’t want money from progressives to turn around and go to people like Karl Rove and his PAC that sponsors attack ads against President Obama. It would be like taxpayer money paying for abortions or something like that, right?