Where To Invade Next – Michael Moore Strikes a Melancholy Chord

February 13, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos

Where to Invade Next is Michael Moore’s most disturbing film yet. Contrasting the progressive public policies practiced abroad with those here at home, Moore starkly drives home just how inhumane American society has truly become.

The movie is a simple exercise in comparing and contrasting American public policies with those of other countries. It’s full of Moore’s inner dialogue and characteristic humor. But it’s also profoundly moving because he cuts deep into the marrow of what’s wrong with American society and must be changed.

Whether looking at how other nations treat their workers, expectant mothers, schoolchildren, or prisoners, Moore lays bare the heartless deficiencies in the American way of life. The surprised looks on the faces of Europeans when Moore tells them that in the United States there is no paid vacation or maternity leave reveal just how far we’ve fallen. A woman CEO from Iceland offers one of the most devastating critiques of American society I’ve ever heard.

Moore dispels the myths about how horribly the Europeans are taxed by showing: 1). They aren’t taxed that much more than Americans anyway — especially when factoring in the out-of- pocket expenses for basic services we pay; and 2). They get so much more from their governments than we do.

The loud mouths among the Republican Right will no doubt claim that Moore “cherry picked” his data or is “romanticizing” other cultures. They’ll call him “anti-American” and say they’re not surprised he made an “anti-American” film. But fuck them anyway. They embody the exact retrograde ideology that Moore exposes in the film: the market fundamentalism, racism, and general meanness that prevent any real progress toward enacting the kind of commonsense public policies that Moore explores in this powerful movie.

Adding a dose of irony to Moore’s film is the fact that many of the progressive ideas we see implemented elsewhere can trace their origins back to the United States. From the 1970s, when women’s rights and the Equal Rights Amendment were in the forefront, and the late-1980s, when the U.S. prosecuted bankers after the Savings and Loan scandal, all the way back to the original founders of the U.S. Constitution who banned cruel and unusual punishment, Moore reminds us that we’ve lost track of many of our best ideas only to see other nations pick them up and benefit from our example.

The movie ends on a positive note. But it’s still a heartbreaking movie for any American to watch who hasn’t completely lost his or her grasp of the meaning of human dignity. At a time when Hillary Clinton and countless political commentators are telling us that this country is incapable of fundamental change it’s great to see Michael Moore pointing the way forward through another excellent and provocative film.

The United States has so much to learn from the way people in other countries live but is too busy straddling the globe as a military colossus to take notice. It’s impossible not to feel envious of the people Moore interviews in the film whose lives contrast so starkly with our own, which makes his critique of American capitalism all the more devastating.

I left the theater feeling sad for Americans whose political leaders have so failed them, convincing so many of us (including some presidential candidates) that public policies that work so well abroad could never work here. Where To Invade Next is not only funny and entertaining but it frames the debate on the failures of American public policy in a manner that will get audiences thinking (and maybe a little angry).

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Pam Ferderbar: Valentine’s Day Humor with Charlotte Nightingale

February 13, 2016 by  
Filed under Humor

A guest blog.

There are two holidays I used to have a love/hate relationship with: New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. This was when I was younger, a…

Read more: Valentine Humor, I-Hate-Valentines-Day, Charlotte Nightingale, Funny Blogs, Satire, Comedy News

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How Brands Benefit From A Think-Like-A-Journalist Mindset

February 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos

If your brand is creating content with the intention of driving sales, you may be missing the boat. Your customers can smell advertorial from a mile away, hence the inception of unbiased brand journalism – a service to your niche audience, which if done well, can turn into a healthy prospect list and thriving community.

Phoebe Chongchua, brand journalist and host of The Brand Journalism Advantage podcast, has said, “Brands that learn to think like journalists, use multimedia storytelling, and publish regularly the way a newsroom does, will not only gain expert authority and receive greater ROI, but they’ll also attract loyal followers and brand evangelists.” Chongchua believes that every company has the ability to be a media company, and to do it “right” your content must inform, educate, amuse, and help readers make better decisions. We’re talking about something different than content marketing, which feeds prospects useful content but with a different purpose in mind.

Publisher of PR Daily and CEO of Ragan Communications Mark Ragan comments on the value of brand journalism: “It’s a cheap way to build up your brand by targeting a specific niche (your niche) and gain followers who trust you to provide great and insightful stories. Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on one-hit advertising. For a fraction of the cost you can build a daily news operation and staff it with a few good reporters.”

Sure, not every company is equipped to hire in-house reporters, but you don’t need a team of ten media veterans to reap the benefits of the think-like-a-journalist mindset. Creating unbiased stories – that could help to build the most loyal audience you’ve ever had – is really about approaching content differently. So take off your content marketing hats for a moment and step into the light of a few companies who are setting the bar high when it comes to brand journalism.

1. First Round Capital’s First Round Review

Seed-stage venture firm First Round Capital’s media entity, First Round Review, publishes articles that appeal to its core audience of tech entrepreneurs. Camille Ricketts, head of content and marketing at First Round Capital, explains: “Instead of coming up with an editorial calendar of topics to pursue, we let people drive our coverage. We make a point of connecting with extraordinary leaders and technologists we admire, and then work with them to develop topics that speak to their passions but will also be helpful for our readers.”

With regular cameos from startup CEOs and tangible tips for the worker bees who are making big ideas happen, First Round Review gives its audience exactly what it’s looking for. Plus, the articles are so well-built it’s as if you’re reading your favorite tech publication. Ricketts adds, “We believe that too much valuable knowledge is trapped in the minds of experts who are too busy to share their wisdom. Our goal is to make it easier for people to learn from them.”


2. General Electric’s GE Reports

From impressive guest contributions like this piece by futurist Jim Carroll to articles about water treatment technologies complete with mesmerizing GIFs, General Electric’s GE Reports does the impossible by turning less-than-sexy topics into interesting, helpful, and inspiring reads.

“What I like about GE Reports is that they’re taking ‘techy’ content that is often hard for people to digest and making it not only palatable but desirable,” said Chongchua. “Instead of boring press releases, the brand now turns out intriguing stories that look and feel like traditional news. They’ve also established a digital platform separate from their main company website to distribute their content, which I highly recommend.”


3. The Marriott Content Studio

Complete with a control room called “M Live” and stacked with nine screens broadcasting things like social media campaigns as they unfold in real-time, Marriott’s in-house newsroom, which launched last October, is enough to make any content producer green with envy. The goal? To create an environment where Marriott employees can react quickly to potential digital marketing opportunities and combat the fact that customers aren’t engaging as much as they used to be with traditional advertising.

4. Advocate Health Care’s health enews

When done well, brand journalism can also get you more media hits. Within a week of launching its news site, Advocate Health Care scored coverage on CNN because of a story it published. That’s what you get when you publish high-quality articles equipped with news-like photos and quotes from primary sources. Not every piece will garner this type of attention, but you sure do make it easier for a reporter to cover if you write the story like they would.

If you’re looking to dip your toes into the brand journalism pool, brace yourself: getting started is actually quite simple. Ragan advises, “Start writing your own story exactly the way a journalist would. This means putting the reader and your audience first, not your company or organization. It means putting real people front and center.”

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.



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Holly Bower: President Trump Tackles Producing, Starting with the ABC of It

February 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Humor

I’m delightfully out of my mind with excitement, for President Trump (a.k.a. PT), on his first vacation, has agreed to produce my film Teach Me Tonigh…

Read more: Political Humor, Political Satire, Donald Trump, Politics, Comedy News

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Eric Garner’s Daughter Hails Bernie Sanders’ Activism In Powerful New Campaign Ad

February 11, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ latest ad stars civil rights activist Erica Garner, whose father was put in a police chokehold in 2014 and died.

Garner, who endorsed Sanders in January, argues in the ad released on YouTube Thursday that the independent Vermont senator is the Democratic contender most capable of reforming a racially biased criminal justice system.

“I believe Bernie Sanders is a protester,” Garner says. “He’s not scared to go up against the criminal justice system. He’s not scared.”

“And that’s why I’m for Bernie,” Garner concludes in the nearly four-minute video titled “It’s Not Over.”

The ad, narrated entirely by Garner, gets its title from an anecdote Garner recounts sharing with her 6-year-old daughter Alyssa. Garner told Alyssa the story of Rosa Parks’ refusal to get out of her seat at the front of the bus for a white person.

“‘But those are in the old days, right Mommy?’” Garner recalls her daughter asking. “And I had to explain to her that it’s not really over.”

The video continues with images of Garner caring for Alyssa and protesting the death of her father, Eric Garner, as she explains the pain of her father’s loss and her efforts to change a system in which law enforcement has the power to take black lives frivolously.

Sanders is absent until the second half of the ad, when he appears in clips that show him uttering condemnations of an institutionally racist criminal justice system. 

“It is not acceptable to me that we have seen young black men walk down streets in this country, be beaten and be killed unjustly,” Sanders is shown saying.

NBC News reported that the Sanders campaign had sought to purchase airtime for a two-minute version of the ad, but that several cable networks refused the request. 

The ad comes as Sanders and Hillary Clinton fight for Democratic primary wins in states such as South Carolina, where receiving a large share of the African-American vote is crucial to victory.

Clinton has enjoyed greater popularity among African-American voters, including black elected officials, up to this point. The Congressional Black Caucus political action committee endorsed the former secretary of state on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a civil rights hero who has endorsed Clinton, publicly questioned Sanders’ civil rights movement bona fides.

Meanwhile, Sanders picked up an endorsement this week from award-winning artist and civil rights movement veteran Harry Belafonte. And last week, former NAACP President Ben Jealous endorsed Sanders. Prominent author Ta-Nehisi Coates has also said that in spite of his vocal criticism of the democratic socialist, he plans to vote for Sanders.

According to HuffPost Pollster’s polling average, Sanders currently trails Clinton by 30 percentage points in South Carolina, where the primary is set for Feb. 27.

Also on HuffPost:

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Bernie Sanders’ Wife, Jane, Calls Madeleine Albright’s Comments ‘Unfortunate And Disturbing’

February 10, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos

Just like many other women, Bernie Sanders’ wife, Jane Sanders, isn’t pleased with famous females who insinuate women owe Hillary Clinton a vote purely in the interest of getting a woman into the White House.

One such woman is Madeleine Albright, the country’s first female secretary of state, who told Clinton supporters over the weekend that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” When HuffPost Live’s Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani asked for a reaction to those comments on Wednesday, the wife of the Democratic presidential hopeful said she doesn’t agree with Albright’s logic.

“I found [Albright's comments] unfortunate and disturbing,” Sanders said. “I think women today are a little bit more intelligent [than to] say, ‘Okay, all I care about is gender.’ By that case, then, if Bernie won the Democratic nomination and Carly Fiorina won the Republican nomination, we should be supporting Carly Fiorina.”

Fiorina, of course, suspended her campaign for the Republican nomination shortly before Sanders’ HuffPost Live interview, meaning Clinton is the only remaining woman in the race.

Sanders also praised the way millennials embrace feminism today, by speaking up when they experience inequity. She added that speaking up wasn’t so easy when she was younger, and she admires women who fought for equality during that less-inviting period for women. 

Her example, interestingly, was Gloria Steinem, who also found herself in hot water for comments about gender and the Democratic primary. Steinem has since apologized for saying that young women may support Sen. Sanders because “the boys are with Bernie.”

Jane Sanders told HuffPost Live she valued the apology and chooses to judge Steinem on her life’s work rather than one remark.

“She apologized. I know that young people were offended by it, but it was a mistake,” Sanders said. “That’s what I don’t like about politics too much, that somebody makes a misstatement [and it blows up]. We know her life has been about equity for women and feminism. She made a mistake, she said so. I absolutely still respect her very much.”

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Jane Sanders here.

Want more HuffPost Live? Stream us anytime on Go90, Verizon’s mobile social entertainment network, and listen to our best interviews on iTunes.

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Flora Nicholas: Donald Trump to Star in New TV Series: Extreme Takeover (GOP Edition)

February 10, 2016 by  
Filed under Humor

Today, during the Upfronts, ABC was totally up front about a new political television series that’s about to hit the airwaves — one which will provide conclusive proof that Donald Trump has totally trumped the GOP.

Read more: Satire, Political Humor, Donald Trump, Donald Trump 2016, Republican Party, Gop, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Bill Clinton, Comedy News

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Bernie Sanders’ New Hampshire Win Shows How Far He’s Come Since Media Wrote Him Off

February 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos

After Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) handily beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, it’s worth taking a look at how unlikely the media considered his bid less than a year ago.

When he announced his campaign on April 29, the general consensus was that Sanders was a long shot who would drive Clinton to the left during the campaign. Those who put forth this consensus included The Huffington Post, which covered Sanders’ announcement by writing thatSanders isn’t expected to mount a serious challenge to Clinton, but he does have an important opportunity to shape the debate in months to come.”

The New York Times similarly suggested Sanders would play a role in shaping the conversation of the campaign, but noted the Vermont independent faced a steep challenge.

Mr. Sanders’s bid is considered a long shot, but his unflinching commitment to stances popular with the left — such as opposing foreign military interventions and reining in big banks — could force Mrs. Clinton to address these issues more deeply,” the Times wrote while covering Sanders’ initial announcement. The Associated Press also noted that Sanders will “start his campaign as a distinct underdog against Clinton, who remains the dominant front-runner.”

Since then, Sanders has received over 3 million campaign contributions.

CNN initially questioned Sanders’ viability because he was not a registered Democrat.

Sanders caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate but is an unlikely candidate for the Democratic nomination, primarily because he has never been a registered member of the party and calls himself a ‘democratic socialist,’” said a story on CNN.com. But a June Gallup poll released two months after Sanders announced his candidacy found that 47 percent of voters would consider voting for a socialist for president.

Politico wrote off Sanders’ candidacy almost immediately, publishing an item in Politico Caucus the day after Sanders announced his campaign under the headline “Dems to Bernie: Fat Chance.” The item quoted “the most important activists, operatives and elected officials in Iowa and New Hampshire,” and 93 percent of those on the Democratic side said Sanders would not win their state.

In addition to winning New Hampshire, Sanders finished just behind Clinton in the Iowa caucuses.

Also on HuffPost:

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What Soda Commercials Would Look Like If They Told The Truth

February 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos

Soda commercials so often depict cute baby polar bears, families hugging or people who probably don’t drink soda looking glamorous drinking the stuff.

And while this year’s Super Bowl ad portrayed Coca Cola as desirable to the likes of Ant Man and the Hulk, what would these TV spots look like if they focused on soda’s real characteristics?

The Cracked video above takes a stab at ads that are a little more truthful about the part “wet sugar with bubbles” plays in America’s health struggles, including its role in obesity and some major dental issues.

While soda sales are steadily declining and Michelle Obama has pushed to decrease the number of soda sales in schools, kids are often Big Soda’s primary target. If soda companies were to actually be honest with the impressionable minds and taste buds of these potential customers, their advertisements would certainly be closer to this parody.

Related on HuffPost:

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Steven Shehori: Boy, Oh Boy, Do I Love Radiation! — By Your Dentist

February 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Humor

Great to see you again! Wow, hard to believe it’s been six months already. Time sure flies between check-ups, don’t you think?

Read more: Dentist, Humor, Steven Shehori, Dentistry, Radiation, Satire, Comedy News

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