Saturday, March 23, 2013

HBO Real Time with Bill Maher #276 “Charming Truth-Sayers”

by Catherine Giordano

I’m titling my review of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” episode 276, which aired on March 23, 2012, “Charming Truth- Sayers” You can always count of Bill Maher to get the truth out despite the best efforts of his Republican/Conservative panelists and guests to obfuscate and even outright lie.

The interview was with Austan Goolsbee, an economics professor at the University of Chicago and the former chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors.  He’s erudite and charming, brimming over with enthusiasm for his topic. If he had been my economics professor in college, I’m sure I’d be an economist now. Since he resigned from his position with the Obama administration I haven’t seen him on TV. I was so glad to see him again because when he explains complex economics, it is all so easy to understand. And did I mention that he is so charming.

Almost all the guests were charming on this episode. If I was having a party, I’d love to have all of them present. Only one of them would not get an invitation, and that one is
John Feehery. He is the exact opposite of charming.  He wasn’t actually obnoxious, just at best, a lack-luster personality. If I met him at a party I probably wouldn’t spend more than a minute talking to him.

Feehery is the former spokesman for Dennis Hasbert. (Dennis Hasbert is a former slime-ball Republican Speaker of the House who had to resign in disgrace. Really, Feehery, you need a more respectable and more recent credential.) We didn’t get too much truth-telling from him. His most notable line of the night was “Why has it taken so long for Obama to give this speech.”  He said this during a discussion of president Obama’s speech in Israel. This is so typical of the Republicans—they berate the president for not doing something, and when he does it instead of saying how great it is that he did it this thing that they wanted him to do, they berate him for not doing it sooner.

Another panelist was MariaTeresa Kumar, the President of Voto Latino. She looked great in a red wrap dress. (I apologize for always commenting on how the female panelists look, but I’m a big fan of fashion, and I always notice how a woman is dressed.) Maria is also very vivacious and charming. And she knows what she is talking about, especially on immigration issues.

The third panelist was Jim McGreevey, the former governor of New Jersey who came out as gay and resigned. This happened quite a few years ago and I have heard nothing about him since. It turns out he has been putting his time to good use. He has been working with women in prison, and he told a lot of truth about the penal system in this country.  A new documentary about his will be out soon. It is about his work with women’s prisons and it is called “Fall to Grace.” He is also very charming; he has an easy-going manner, and gets very intense when he talks about his work with women in prison.  It’s so nice when there is a scandal and afterwards the person does something really redeeming with his life. 

One topic of discussion was President Obama’s trip to Israel. Everyone agreed that Obama was right to tell the Israelis the truth-- a two-state solution is the only solution. Bill said that the right wing of this country has done Israel a great disservice by telling the Israelis that everything they do is perfect and the U.S. will support them in whatever they want to do. (Bill pointed out that the right-wingers have an ulterior motive—The second coming of Christ requires that Israel exist as a Jewish state according to their interpretation of prophecy.)  Obama got a standing ovation from his Israeli audience.  He told the truth, and he did it with charm. (Obama can be so very charming—I love his smile. His smile seems so honest.)

Speaking about the president’s speech, McGreevey pointed out that “the easiest thing to do was nothing.  But he stepped up. Political leaders won’t take risks unless the people push them.” Later McGreevey reiterated this point.  He said FDR, before the New Deal, brought in Democratic leaders and told him he agreed with them on social security, etc., but he wasn’t going to do anything about it unless they made him do it.  If we want something done in this country, we have to make our politicians do it. (I used italics or emphasis.)

There was a wide range of topics on the show.

They spoke about Congress voting on the repeal of ObamaCare for the 34th time. Austan said it was like giving someone 40 life sentences. Plus it would never pass the Senate, and even if it did Obama would never sign it. Give it a rest, Boehner, and do some real work for a change.

They spoke about the sequester. Austan said people haven’t felt it much yet, and when they do, it will be mostly poor people. Economic growth is going to decrease and the unemployment rate is going to rise again. The defense budget is so bloated, the defense department will never feel it.

They talked about Alexander Pelosi’s new documentary. She went to of Sandy Hook, to one of the most Republican districts in the country. She asked people they wanted to cut spending. Yes! What did they want to cut?  Military? No! Education? No! Social Security? No?. Disaster Relief? Oh, God no! She asked about everything and they said no to everything, everything except foreign aid and the salaries of Congress. “Cut it where it won’t hurt us.” “Cut stupid stuff”  When Alexander asked what specifically they wanted to cut, they said, “I don’t know.”  Now try to tell me that the average Republican voter is capable of rational thought.

They talked about the Ryan budget. Maria said it was shortsighted.  The economy needs investment to be strong.

They talked about Head Start. Jim maintained that it worked in New Jersey. Maria said, that if they want to abolish Head Start, what is the alternative? None of the critics of Head Start have offered something better.

They talked about the Republican party and the report that the party commissioned to study what went wrong in the last election. (Everything!)  John said the Republicans have to be less offensive. (Never gonna happen—1) they don’t know they are offensive, and 2) they like being offensive.)  Maria said that the Libertarians and the Tea Party won’t let the Republican party change.  

They talked about gun control. Bill said he thought 20 dead white kids would have turned the tide, but it apparently has not because both parties love guns. Ninety percent of the people in this country want background checks, and it still can’t pass in the House or the Senate. The problem is people who don’t want gun control won’t vote for you if you vote for it, but the people who do want gun control will vote for you even if you don’t vote for it.

They talked about how prisons are about making a profit and not about treatment. Here’s a starling truth. America has the highest rate of incarceration of any country in the world.  (Can you believe it? Russia is second.) Jim spoke about how they made a huge reduction in recidivism in the prison where he works by offering treatment for addiction, sober housing, and jobs. Maria underscored the point about profit by telling us about how the “papers please” law in Arizona was only about making a profit for the business of detention centers.

They talked about the change in attitudes towards homosexuality. Bill attributed it to TV shows, like “Will and Grace.” Jim said it happened because of AIDS. Gays had to come out, and when people saw that their uncle, their brother, their neighbor was gay, attitudes changed. (Case in point: Senator Rob Portman just came out in favor of gay marriage because he has a gay son.)

Clive Davis was the special guest. He is a legend in the business-side of the music entertainment industry.  He promoted and/or discovered all the big names, Janis Joplin, Simon and Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, and so many others.  Also, he’s very charming. He is definitely invited to my party. 

The comedy bit was about mayor Bloomberg and his new mission for New York City.  He has put posters in the subways about teen pregnancy. The posters show cute kids with a message of the negative consequences of teen pregnancy. Bill did a few posters of his own.  The kids on these poster were shown saying things like “I will poop in the bathtub,” “Only celebrities lose the baby weight, and you are not a celebrity.” and “I will grow up and steal your weed.” Actually, I didn’t see that much difference between the real posters and the parodies.

“New Rules” was very funny, ending with a tirade about religion.  Bill exhorted us to stop saying the job of pope is so hard.  “He’s selling an invisible product. Everything he says is right by definition. You can run a child sex ring and still keep your customers. The leaders of the Catholic church are just a bunch of guys sitting around making “New Rules.”  Confession—12 the century new rule.  Holy Ghost –3rd century new rule. Celibacy for priests—4th century new rule.  Infallibility--1870 new rule. First we (Bill was raised Catholic) couldn’t eat meat on Friday. Then, “This just in. Meat is OK on Friday.” Bill said, “None of this is in the Bible.  The Pope is not in the Bible!” Bill concluded with a great line—the “tell-it-like-it-is” moment of the week. “Religion is like Wikipedia. Anyone can write something.”

A lot of truth-telling on this episode. A lot of charming people.  Which got me to thinking, is Bill charming enough to get invited to my party for charming people?  No, Bill is not charming (too abrasive), but he is funny and he is a truth-sayer, so he can come to my party. But he has to promise not to sit on the deck all night smoking weed . And he has to promise not to and hit on all the young pretty women, and that includes Maria Teresa Kumar.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Real Time with Bill Maher # 275 “New Ideas”

Rachel Maddow on "Real Time with Bill Maher"
by Cathrine Giordano

Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO, episode 275, on march 15, 2013, was a lively show.  Rachel Maddow was a guest and that is reason enough to watch it.

Bill does a segment titled ”New Rules” each week, so I thought I’d do a take-off on that and  title this review “New Ideas.”  And when I say “new ideas”, I mostly mean “no new ideas.”

In the opening monologue, Bill talked about the selection of a new pope, or as Bill put it, “They found a guy to wear the white dress.”  He said that the new pope was being called “the humble pope.”  No limos for him, he rides the bus. Bill said, “An old guy on the bus mumbling about Jesus. When do you ever see that?” Nothing new about that.

Bill asked whether anything would change with this new pope.  He answered his own question, saying “Of course not.”  Bill pointed out that Pope Francis is pro-life, against contraception, and thinks homosexuality is the work of the devil. No new ideas there.

Bill added, “Or as Republicans call him, a progressive.” (It’s a joke, but as Republicans keep leap-frogging over each other to be the furthest to the right, it may actually be true real soon.)

Bill discussed C-Pac—the conservative convention.  Mark Rubio, senator from Florida, and new darling of tea-party gave a speech saying, “We don’t need a new idea.  We have an idea. It’s called America and it still works.”  Bill mocked him. “Really? Climate change? America! Stagnant wages? America. Equal rights for women? Saudi Arabia!"

Rubio is not ready for prime time. First there was the dreadful speech after the president’s state of the union speech. and now this inane speech at C-Pac.  First of all, Rubio—you just admitted that not only do Republicans have no new ideas, they don’t even want any new ideas. Why have an idea when you can have a slogan?  America!  Bill didn’t have to make a joke about it. It’s funny all by itself.

The interview was with Michelle Rhee, the Republicans darling of education reform. I didn’t hear any new ideas from her. Just the same old tired Republican talking points about bad schools and bad teachers.  Bill pointed out that the problem is not schools and teachers, but poverty. Michelle wouldn’t engage, and just kept on talking about bad schools and bad teachers.

I live in Florida.  When Jeb Bush was governor, the state started giving schools grades.  (Jeb Bush is often called the education governor. If by that they mean “the destroyer public education.’ then the title fits. I don’t know how he gets away with it.) One year, an “F” school was turned into an “A” school in one year. How was it done?  A local corporation “adopted” the school.  They provided resources, tutoring, enrichment programs. It’s as simple as that. We don’t have to close “bad” schools or fire “bad” teachers, we just need to provide more resources.  All the government had to do was duplicate the efforts of this corporation in every “bad” school, and problem solved.  Did they do it? Of course not! That would cost money! 

The panel included Rachel Maddow, host of an MNSBC news show (9pm Monday through Friday), Jared Bernstein, a former economic advisor to V.P. Biden, and Tom Davis, a former Republican Congressman from Virginia.

I love Rachel Maddow—watch her on MSNBC and you’ll see why. She’s super intelligent and funny.  She’s like no one else on TV. Jared is new to me, but I liked him immediately.  Rachel and Jared didn’t have any new ideas either, but they don’t need any. Their old ideas are the ones that this country needs, like cutting defense spending, ending poverty, providing health care, and not putting the country into deficits by neglecting to pay for the war that you lied the country into.

Tom Davis’s response was to say that he agreed with Jeb Bush that “history will be kind to G. W. Bush.” He added, “Nixon was rehabilitated.”  Everyone else guffawed saying that there was no comparison between what Nixon did and the terrible mess that Bush got us into. I was laughing, too.  It seems like the country is finally waking up to how really, really, bad Bush was.

Bill went back to the pope theme for his comedy segment.  He talked about what some famous politicos might say in confession.

John Boehner:         I only cry because I’m sh-t-faced.”

Pope Benedict:         I’m not actually sick. I just hated the job.   

Sarah Palin:              Sometimes I close my eyes and pretend Todd is Kobe Bryant.

Marcus Bachman:   Sometimes I close my eyes and pretend Michelle is Kobe Bryant. (Michelle Bachman’ s husband, Marcus, is rumored to be gay.)

Mitt Romney:             I hate the other 53% too.

An orangutan:          I only slept with Donald Trump’s mother to win a bet.

The special guest was Tom Colicchio, a chef who has just done a documentary about hunger in America, called “A Place at the Table.”  He pointed out that 47 million children in this country don’t know where their next meal is coming from. He also explained that hunger and obesity are related. People get calories, but not nutrition. Healthy food is expensive.   

In “New Rules” Bill poked fun at smart cars. He said that you may have things on your key chair bigger than a smart car, and that if you kit Chris Christy while driving one, he’d ask you if you were OK.  (Yes, smart cars are very small, probably smaller than Chris Christie, but I think they are cute.)

The final ‘new rule” dealt with conservatives. 

Bill said that Obamacare is hated, but its individual components are well liked. 
He compared it to saying, “I hate pizza, but I love dough with tomato sauce and cheese.”  He said, “People don’t dislike socialism; they just don’t know how to define it. Hint:  It’s in the name ‘social security.’”

 He said C-Pac was the “open mic from Hell.”  Their message is “whatever you do, don’t change.” 

Bill said, ”Politicians from both parties think their constituents are more conservative than they actually are. He added, “(Conservatives) don’t speak for the majority of Americans. They are just so loud that they haven’t noticed that America has moved on.

He concluded by saying that conservatives were like the nasty old man yelling that the kids hit their ball into his yard and he hasn’t noticed that they have grown up and moved away… and he’s the senior senator from Arizona.

And, that is not a new idea, not even a new joke, but it is really funny when Bill says it.  It’s funny because the analogy is so perfect. This is the “I’ve-heard- it-before-but-it-still-makes-me laugh-every-time” moment of the week.

I’m fine with the fact that Republicans don’t have new ideas. I bet the do-do birds didn’t have any new ideas either—just before they went extinct. I just wish they would get out of the way of the liberal’s good ideas.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

HBO Real Time with Bill Maher #274 “Holes”

by Catherine Giordano

The March 8, 2013 episode of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” (#274) was a so-so episode with a few good moments. I’m titling the show “Holes” primarily because Bill asked “Are Americans assholes?”  Of course, Bill answers his own question. and the answer is “Yes”

Americans are assholes because they like looking down on other people, like the people on reality shows, and they like seeing people hurt and maimed. That’s why liberals watch Honey Boo Boo.  Now, here comes the joke: Conservatives watch Honey Boo Boo for the make-up tips. Pow!

During the opening monologue, Bill had a few good jokes. He mentioned that Rand Paul filibustered for 13 hours. During that time, he asked if drones can be used to kill Americans on American soil. Now, here comes the joke: Obama said, “Don’t push me.” Pow! Pow!

The interview was with Charlie Le Duff, a journalist and the author of Detroit: An American Autopsy.  I never heard of Charlie LeDuff before.  He’s a wiry, fast-talking, wise-cracking, street-fighting kind of guy. I’ve never known any meth addicts, but I’ve seen some on TV. Charlie LeDuff reminded me of a meth addict.

But, don’t get me wrong—Charlie is a smart guy. I learned some things about Detroit from him. Four decades ago, Detroit was the nation’s richest city. It was 83% white; now it is 83% black. The middle class, including the black middle class , left the city because the good jobs were shipped overseas.

There were two conservative Republicans on the show: Avic Roy, a writer for Forbes and the National Review, and an advisor to the Romney campaign and Michael Steele, the former chair of the Republican Party.   

The best Michael Steele lines came during overtime, the final segment of the show that is not aired, but is available on the internet.  Michael Steele pointed out the holes in the Republicans’ strategy of rebranding. He was pretty blunt saying that rebranding was important or “the Republican party will become even more irrelevant than it is now.” adding that “the leadership is stuck in a time-warp.”  He stated that there has to be substance to the Republican Party’s efforts. “We can’t just put a Marco Rubio out there and say “see, we got one too.’”

The liberal panelist was Arianna Huffington, President and Editor–in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. Arianna looked beautiful as always. Last week’s guest, Monica Mehta, should get some fashion tips from her about how to look sexy without looking slutty.  Arianna wore a beautiful lacy grey short sleeved top with some kind of satiny flower-like designs on it. Girlfriend—where did you get that?  Oh, never mind, I’m sure I couldn’t afford it.

Bill led off the discussion with a mention about the Dow hitting record highs but 46 million people can’t meet basic needs. Roy added, “The bond market is doing great. The stock market is doing great. The housing market is doing great. But, the economy isn't doing great.” I agree with him there, but I think we have different ideas about why the economy isn’t doing great and how to fix it.

Arianna added that the crisis facing us is jobs--the American dream of upward mobility is no longer attainable. Then she added the “I’m-sure–this-was-rehearsed-but-I-love-it-anyway” line of the week. “America being behind France in upward mobility is a little bit like France being behind America in croissants and afternoon sex."

The comedy bit was about sinkholes.  We just had a big one in Florida—the ground opened up and swallowed a house. Bill riffed on how various publications might deal with sinkholes. Here are a few of his parodies:

            Newsweek:                           Are Sinkholes the Work of Jesus?

            Fox News:                             What you need to know about Obamaholes

Ann Coulter’s new book:    Hole: How Liberals are Sucking the Ground Out from Under Us

The special guest was David Cross, actor and comedian. David said, I never know how to dress for sinkhole season.”  He has a quirky understated sense of humor.

During New Rules, Bill asked, “Why does everything in America have to be political?”

“Conservatives like big portions; liberals like knowing where their food comes from. Conservatives like American beers; liberals prefer imported beer—socialism in a bottle. Liberals like new brands; conservatives like the tried and true brands…

“‘I believe in science’ didn’t used to be fighting words. Everyone thought that rape was bad, and everyone was anti-hurricane… 

“Walter Cronkite used to end his TV news show with ‘And, that’s the way it was’ because we all agreed on what was reality. Now we have Fox News for conservatives, MSNBC for liberals, and CNN for airports.”

I’m done with this review.  It’s time to stuff my pie-hole with some wholesome local-sourced organic food.

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Arianna Huffington on "Real Time with Bill Maher.'  I wish I could find a close up of her lacy polo-shirt.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

HBO Enlightened “Agent of Change” #18 Square One

by Catherine Giordano

Season 2 of HBO’s Enlightened ended with episode 18 “Agent of Change” which aired on March 3, 2013. It ends with Amy right back where she started in episode 1—friendless, jobless, and turning to her ex-husband Levi.  She is back to “Square One.”

This season finale could very well be a series finale. I hope there is a season 3. This show is one of the best on TV—unique, emotional, beautifully written and produced. The poetic voice-overs, the beautiful music, the quirky characters—everything is so well done. 

“Enlightened” is listed as a comedy on the HBO website. I wouldn’t call it a comedy; it doesn’t make me laugh, although I smile wanly as I recognize myself in the characters. Yet it is not quite a drama either, if you define drama as I do—a show where the plot is preeminent—although there are plenty of plot twists. This show defies categories. Perhaps I can best describe it as an extended character sketch or a treatise of the philosophy of life.  

On episode 18, Krista took center stage. The episode opens with Krista gazing at her newborn marveling at the miracle of life in this “beautiful upsetting world.”

Amy’s voiceover has her musing about her place in the world. “Am I the agent of change, or a creature of chaos?”  (Later the CEO of Abaddonn, after Amy’s betrayal of the company becomes known, calls her “an agent of chaos.”)

Amy muses, “Am I the fool, the goat, the witch, or am I enlightened? Maybe like all of us, she is a bit of each of them. This is what I mean about this show being unique.  What other show would ask us to think about these things?  As Amy searches for answers in her life, we the viewers, are asked to search for answers in our lives.

Tyler is feeling very guilty about his part in the upcoming exposé.  Eileen sees that he is troubled and asks him what is wrong. Tyler spills the beans, and Eileen charges off.

Eileen has warned her boss, George Szidon, CEO of Abaddonn about the exposé. Jeff phones Amy and tells her, “They know.”  Amy thinks Krista has ratted her out.

In the previous episode, Amy and Krista have finally mended their friendship. Krista is willing to accept Amy as a friend again. In recognition of this renewed friendship, Amy tells Krista about the exposé. Krista is shocked, but is much more concerned about the imminent birth of her baby than anything related to work. She promises not to say anything.

However, when Amy learns that “they know” she immediately blames Krista. She breaks into Krista’s hospital room and verbally assaults Krtista. Amy gets overwrought, reminiscent of the scene back in the beginning of Season 1 where she confront her co- married lover  and co-worker in the halls of Abaddonn and has a very public meltdown.  It’s déjà vu all over again and Amy is firmly escorted out of the hospital room.

Amy returns to Abaddonn and Tyler tells Amy that he told Eileen. Amy is in crisis mode now, grabbing all her things--especially her computer hard drive--and trying to leave the building. Amy is intercepted by security and brought upstairs.

Szidon is furious. He shouts at Amy, “You have committed a crime.”  

Amy is calm as the invective and threats wash over her like water off a duck’s back.  She says, “I tried to take a little power back.”

Szidon continues, “You are a hysteric, an agent of chaos.  I will crush you like the bug you are.”

Amy remains calm throughout Szidon’s tirade. Szidon berates her and threatens her, but he can’t break her.  She has a clam dignity when she announces that the meeting is over and she is leaving.  Here we see Amy at her best.

She’s at her best later with Jeff also when they speak on the phone afterwards.  Jeff says, “We knew this would happen.” 

Amy responds, “We did?” 

This reminds me of the last episode when Jeff is telling Amy she knew things that she did not know.  (In the prior episode he told her that she knew that their relationship was not real. She was very dignified then, too.)

Jeff asks if she wants to come over. Amy replies with a dignified, “No.” This is the “for-a-ditzy-woman-she-can-be-so-smart-so-brave” moment of the week.

Amy ends up on the steps outside Levi’s condo.  Levi sits down next to her. Their conversation revels that the bond between them is so strong.  Levi is accepting and reassuring.

“I’ve just done something crazy.”

“So what else is new?”

“I’ve got no job.”

“Great, we can hangout. Want a beer?”

“Who am I? Am I crazy?”

“No, you are just full of hope.”

They sit quietly together. In a voice over, Amy thinks, “You can wake up to your higher self… you can walk out of Hell into the light.”  That sounds like a hope-filled person to me.   

In the last scene, we see Eileen go to Tyler’s home and ring his doorbell.  Tyler opens the door, and they embrace. It is clear that she has forgiven Tyler for his role in the exposé. Tyler, at least, has stepped off “Square One.”

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Amy and Levi at the end of season 2.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Real Time with Bill Maher Episode 273 "In a Hand-Basket"

by Catherine Giordano

HBO’s “Real Time Bill Maher” took a vacation last week; this week (episode 273, airing on 3/1) it felt like they were still on vacation. A pretty blah show.

In the opening monologue, there were only two good jokes. In one Bill said that the equester is like not having the will power to diet and so you rig the refrigerator to blow up when you open the refrigerator door. In the other, Bill talked about the uproar about Obama melding Star Wars and Star Trek when he said “Jedi mind meld.” It is the Vulcan mind meld and the Jedi mind tricks. (Who knew?) Bill ridiculed the people who criticize the president for this faux pas by saying “they are experts in every world except the real one.”

The interview was with James Lyne, a cyber security expert. He’s 26 years old and an expert. You gotta love the computer age.  His main point was that malicious soft ware and cyber criminals are everywhere. Just when you thought it was safe to go the computer…

The panel included Steve Schmidt , a GOP campaign strategist who seems to be embarrassed to call himself a Republican.  Nonetheless, he sticks to the party line—at least among reasonable Republicans—that both sides are to blame.  (The unreasonable ones blame it all on Obama, or as Bill likes to jokingly call him, “Blackenstein.) ”  Yeah, Steve, they are both to blame--the Democrats are 2% to blame and the Republicans are 98% to blame.

Another panelist was Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor of California.  Very smart, very amiable (very good looking), but he can make a point forcefully. He said it is like the Republicans put a crow bar into the spokes of government. “What’s wrong with these guys?”, he asked. This is the “say-it-one more-time” moment of the week. What’s wrong with these guys?

Monica Mehta was also on the panel.  She was described as a business and finance expert.  What she is clearly not an expert in is how to dress. Nix the cleavage when you are trying to present yourself as an expert on a talk show. Also when you are short- waisted with a large bosom, do not wear an oversized belt. OK, so I’m catty. I did not know anything about her before the show, and I know very little about her after the show. 

The panel discussed the sequester, the C-Pac convention and how they snubbed the most popular Republican in the country, Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, the legalization of weed (I think that is discussed pretty much every other show.), the old pope and the who-knows- who the new pope will be, the voting rights act, and back once again to the decline of the Republican party.  Did you know that Obama has 33 million facebook friends and Romney only has 12 million.  If you watch the show you do.

Bill had a good joke about the prospective new pope and the conservatism of the Catholic church.  “How much reform could the new pope bring in before they poisoned him?”  

Bill talked about gerrymandering and the creation of “black districts.”  Like a lot of people, Bill apparently thinks that the Voting Rights Act was about electing blacks into office.  It is not. It is about letting black people vote. Just because we have an African- American president doesn’t mean that there are not elements in this society busy trying to disenfranchise blacks.

Snoop Lion, the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg, was the special guest. He’s a pretty cool guy.  But what was up with Bill, poking him, touching him, and generally invading his personal space?

New Rules was about genetically modified food.  If it’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” you know that you are going to hear about religion (it’s bad) or weed (it’s good) or food (healthy food good, the typical American diet bad) or all three. He’s right on all of these issues, but he just wasn’t funny about them this week.  However, I did like the line where he said “Americans like to eat salty s**t, sugary s s**t, and cool ranch s**t, with extra s**t.” Every time I think of this statement, I crack up.

The whole world is going to s**t, and we’re headed off to H**l in a hand basket.  I’ll think I’ll go see if there are any Cheetos left in the pantry. (Just kidding, I don’t eat that s**t.)

I’ve gotten real busy with my day job, so my reviews have to be a lot shorter.

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The Pope's red shoes--I mean the former pope's red shoes-- are always good for a laugh.

HBO Enlightened “No Doubt” Ep 17 Everything Changes

by Catherine Giordano

Amy begins episode 17 of HBO’s (aired on 2/24) “Enlightened” feeling certain that her life has been transformed and she poised for wonderful things. And then everything changes… for the worse. (Has that ever happened to you?  Don’t you hate it when it does?)

Amy has broken if off for good with her ex-husband, Levi. He doesn’t take the news very well, but Amy feels she must move on. She has a wonderful new boyfriend, Jeff, a handsome, successful journalist who can give her a life of adventure. She and Jeff are involved in an exposé of Abaddonn that will bring down the company she sees as evil and win them both fame and glory. Life is wonderful.

And then everything changes. 

Dougie has a very public meltdown as he informs everyone that the whole basement crew is being let go at the end of the week.  The crew doesn’t take the news too well either.

Tyler has saved himself by getting a job elsewhere in the company, and he wants to help Amy move into a new position also. He asks his new girlfriend, Elaine, the secretary to George Szidon, the CEO of Abaddonn, to ask her boss to give Amy an interview. Amy is conflicted since she knows the company is about to go down once Jeff’s story is printed, but she can’t refuse the interview without tipping Elaine off abot the coming exposé. 

She meets Szidon at his country club.  There, surrounded by luxury and sunshine, she presents her plan.  This is the plan to have Abaddonn be a force for good in the world, the plan that was rejected months earlier, and consequently started her on her mission to bring Abaddonn down.   

To Amy’s surprise, Szidon likes her plan and offers her $100,000 a year—to start—to start up a department to implement her plan.

After this meeting, Amy is not sure which way to go. She goes to see Jeff and tries to nudge him away from the story. The offer of an exciting job and a big fat salary has weakened her resolve to bring Abbaddonn down. Jeff tells her there is no way to stop this story now.

And then Jeff tells her something else. He says that since she is named in the story, it would not be politic for them to be involved in any kind of personal relationship.  He adds that they both had just let their emotions carry them away and now we need “to put the brakes on.” He tells her it wasn’t real and that, “We both knew that all along.”

Amy is stunned and says nothing.  Then she quietly collects her purse and heads for the door. Now for the “best-exit-line-ever” moment of the week, she turns back and in a soft, quiet voice says, “I didn’t know that all along.”  You’ve got to watch this episode if just for that moment along.  No tears, no accusations, just dignity and a quiet put-down.  She says so much with those few words.

(It's a nice contrast between how Levi reacts when she breaks it off with him and how she reacts when Jeff breaks it off with her.)

The next episode is the final episode of season 2. Things are going to change even more, and probably not is a good way.

P.S. Once again real life intrudes. I’m going to be very busy with work so the reviews will have to be much shorter for the next 6 weeks. I may even have to skip a few.

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