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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov 2, 2011 / 5 Mar-Cheshvan, 5772

Where there's ad smoke, there's … what?

By Michael Smerconish



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What was that?

That's the question of the week as pundits, prognosticators, and the public try to interpret a Herman Cain Web commercial that went viral.

The low-budget-looking spot predominantly features Cain senior adviser Mark Block, who is standing outdoors and telling supporters: "Tomorrow is one day closer to the White House. I really believe that Herman Cain will put united back in the United States of America, and if I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be here."

But it is what comes next that has people scratching their heads. In a moment straight out of "Mad Men," Block inhales from his cigarette and blows the smoke toward the camera. The screen then shifts to a close shot of Herman Cain, who fashions a slowly emerging smile.

The nation is $14 trillion in debt, unemployment is at about 9 percent, and there are questions being raised about the pace of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, but the most buzz on the presidential bandwagon in the last week was about the drag Block took on a butt.

Theories abound as to the intent. While I think this was strictly a publicity move, part of me believes it could also be a direct appeal to the 20 percent of the nation who still smoke (no one ever asks for their votes). Or a subliminal reference to President Obama's own smoking habit. (Hey, at least the Cain staffers are transparent about their vices.) Or what you get when you film a commercial for $50. When I ran these thoughts past MSNBC's Chris Matthews, he added another:

"The American people are so angry right now, so frustrated with control over their lives, that they want to be able to have that impulsive ability to be who they are. And that may include smoking. It may not include smoking. We're so tired of being controlled that when you show you're not under control, that you're just an individual American with your own habits (and maybe bad habits), you can be that person. And I think that's what the country wants. They're enraged at being pushed around by everybody and that's what I think it is."

Guess who agrees? Mark Block, the smoker himself.

When I spoke to him this week, Block told me that he never "anticipated the attention it would receive."

"When we filmed it, the main purpose was to get the message out to activists that the Cain campaign was on a roll and up in the polls," Block said. But when I explained Matthews' assessment, Block acknowledged that he intended to cause "a little controversy" because "that's the way Block is," referring to himself in the third person.

"There is a standing joke to let Block be Block because he lets Herman be Herman," he continued.

"When people are looking for me and I'm not in a meeting, just like I am talking to you, I am standing outside on the phone with a cup of coffee and with a cigarette," he said. "It's my choice. I'm not condoning it. I wouldn't suggest anyone take up the habit. It's Block being Block."

By that logic, the commercial is a 2012 version of the "Don't tread on me" edict found on Gadsden flags from the Revolutionary War era. Or it's a retrospective explanation of something that started more innocuously as a bit of a goof.

Neil Oxman, the legendary political adman based in Philadelphia, had a different assessment altogether.

"It's not a commercial for TV," he said. "It's 56 seconds long. As you know, they don't sell 56-second spots on TV. It's meant for the Internet - to get people talking and to help raise money. It certainly has gotten people talking."

Indeed. No wonder Block refused my $1,000 wager that he'd soon be Saturday Night Live fodder, while nevertheless promising he'd be watching the program. The only thing more certain than that is the prospect of a sequel.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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Previously:


10/20/11 After husband is murdered, 30 long years of phone calls
10/13/11 Black women should only marry out of their race?
08/31/11 Some political gaffes really say something
07/27/11 An overture of candidates' theme songs
06/28/11 Where's the app for common sense?
06/02/11 Over-scrutinizing lives costs us potential leaders
04/19/11 Taking a chance to say, ‘Hi’
04/06/11 Race policies should be altered to reflect new demographic reality
11/10/10 Delaware's independent, but short-lived, voice
11/03/10 Papers should leave endorsing to others
10/21/10 Media help to hype perception of bullying
09/23/10 Officer down, killer hyped up
08/04/10 Documents highlight Pakistan's shortcomings as a U.S. ally
07/06/10 On taking back Sept. 11
06/29/10 Name elite corps to develop energy independence?
04/21/10 New account reinforces a serviceman's valor
03/11/10 Medical profession must police itself better
02/18/10 One-trick athletes
02/09/10 Active, retired law officers should be able to carry guns on planes to help stop terrorists
02/04/10 How to bring tech up to speed
01/28/10 Campaign donations must be fully and immediately disclosed online
01/07/10 The flying emperor still has no clothes, and no one is willing to say so
12/24/09 A law to mandate college football playoffs?
12/17/09 Cheney's abuse of freedom of speech
11/26/09 The true cost of freedom from anxiety
10/27/09 If GOP wants to win in 2012, it must reshape its primary process
10/08/09 It's time to get smarter on extended school day
09/03/09 What a summer of eulogizing flawed public figures reveals about society
08/12/09 It's time for cyclists and motorists to reconcile
08/05/09 Faces have changed, but vitriol remains
06/25/09 Fair comment or foul? Warm up the Muzzle Meter
06/08/09 Believability is key in crime-hoax villains
05/14/09 Did Hollywood inspire the meltdown men?
04/20/09 Let's give killers their due: Anonymity
03/12/09 Uninsured who can't afford medical care lose a lot more
02/06/09 My debate with Musharraf on hunt for bin Laden
01/29/09 Torture must remain an option
01/15/09 Making a case for suing Madoff
12/22/08 A difficult but rational chat about ‘plans’
12/17/08 Facebook epidemic: More than 120 million have joined, many too old for this nonsense
12/01/08 The high price of downsizing the news biz
11/14/08 Prescience on greed, arrogance of a system
09/29/08 Closer look at party lines
08/26/08 Obama's pick creates GOP opportunity
08/21/08 Fishing with the Angry Everyman
07/31/08 The perils of e-mail: Ponder, then click
05/22/08 Two very different sides of the Internet
02/12/08 Sublimely ridiculous suits
11/28/08 Cell phones cut out secondary circle of kinship
09/26/07 What do we owe those who have died in Iraq?
08/30/07 A Navy SEAL's gut-wrenching tale of survival
07/30/07 First it was a faux pas, now it's a new word


© 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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