Saturday, February 15, 2014

Real Time with Bill Maher #307 Bon Bons Mots

Bon Bons Mots

by Catherine Giordano
Bill Maher and Bill Nye

Real Time with Bill Maher, #307, aired on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2014.  The hour breezed by.

It was a bit of a love-fest—the guests did not disagree with each other very much, and when they did everyone remained calm. Here's my review, recap, and commentary on the show.

In “New Rules,” Maher did a bit called “Zero Dark Chocolate.”  He began by saying “Politicians are like a box of chocolates. The Democrats are too often soft and gooey and the Republicans are mostly nuts.” I’ll take my cues from this and deliver up some Valentine’s Day bon-bons, a Whitman’s Sampler of the bons-mots served up on the show.

In the opening monologue, Bill Maher said that 58 million pounds of chocolate will be consumed on Valentine’s Day. Then he added “And one small diet Coke.”

In the monologue, Maher talked about Ted Cruz. With a nod to the blizzards occurring all over the country, Maher pointed out that both Ted Cruz and snow are white, but the snow eventually goes away.

The interview was with Bill Nye (The Science Guy), the author of numerous books that explain science to the layman, including Consider the Following.  Nye tried to explain how global warming leads to climate change which leads to weather. Hot air rising causes changes in the atmosphere—that’s why you have been hearing about the polar vortex. 

Nye also talked about his recent debate with Ken Ham, the creationist, about evolution.  Nye said that it is OK to say that we don’t know the answer to everything.  But whenever he did, Ham replied, “There’s a book.”  Nye said he had to resist the urge to slap his hand to his forehead in a gesture of disgust so many times during that debate. 

The panel included Dylan Ratigan, a former host of MSNBC, author of Greedy Bastards, and currently a sustainability entrepreneur; Jeremy Scahill, author of the best-selling book, Blackwater and writer/producer of the new documentary, Dirty Wars; and Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist and author of the book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone.  (This sounds like a book I want to read, but it was not discussed on the show.)

The panelists were not happy about the pending merger of Comcast and Time Warner/Brighthouse.  It will reduce competition.  Klinenberg pointed out that cable fees keep going up, forcing people of modest means to cut themselves off from the national conversation. Scahill described Fox News as the television station that thinks Obama is “the black Marxist Manchurian candidate who wants to resurrect Chairman Mao.”

On the subject of the nation’s crumbling infra-structure, Maher said that the real bridge scandal is that the George Washington Bridge is 80 years old and needs $1 billon in repairs.  Rattigan said that most of our infrastructure, like our power-grid, is pre-Eisenhower.  Obama recognizing that there is a lot of work that needs to be done and a lot of people looking for work and proposed a jobs bill that would address these two problems.  Of course, the Republicans blocked it. Klinenberg said “the Republican idea of infra-structure is a fence on the border.”

During the discussion about drone strikes against suspected terrorists, we got some disagreement among the panelists. This is a difficult one—Bill Maher said that if someone is plotting terrorist acts against America, even if he/she is a citizen, we can’t just do nothing.  Scahill, had a different point of view and thought the drone attacks were unlawful.  Where are the safeguards to protect people who may be innocent?  Where do you draw the line and who gets to draw that line?

Did you know that February 15, 2014 is “National Youth Enrollment Day” for the Affordable Care Act.  Bill had some spoof posters featuring celebrities for the Day. Here’s a few of them:

Miley Cyrus:        There is a 1 in 3 chance you are currently touching something I licked.

Sarah Palin:        Traumatic brain injury can strike anyone.          

Bob Costas:        When Putin poisons you contact lenses, will you be covered?

George Zimmerman: I still walk the streets. Any questions?

 The mid-show guest was Mayim Bailak. She has a PhD in neuroscience and is an actress. She plays Amy on The Big Bang Theory TV series.  She is also a vegan, and the author of a cookbook Mayim’s Vegan Table  Cancer rates are increasing and there must be prevention and not just treatment. We can pay for organic food or we can pay for healthcare.  What role should the government play in regulating the food we eat.

Ratigan spoke about cities of the future being “green” cities. Louisiana is on the forefront of this movement. Texas, because of the drought they are experiencing is interested.

It seems that Philip Seymour Hoffman, the actor who recently died, kept a diary. Some of his diary entries have been published.  Klinenberg said “There is a feeding frenzy on the internet; we no longer have a news cycle, we have a news cyclone.”

Michael Sam, the football player, has come out publically as gay.  Maher said that the rednecks now know that they have been following and cheering for a gay man, “just like they do at the mega-church every Sunday morning.”

In NewRules, Bill spoke about how we like our politicians to be “new.”  If you are new on the political scene, people don’t know your negatives yet.  He said, “Chris Christie should have run in 2012 when he still had that new candidate smell… Now he is just 350 pounds of toast.”

Don’t forget the “Flip a District” campaign.  Send in your nomination for the congress person from a gerrymandered district who you think most needs to be retired. The Bill Maher show will do everything possible to help flip the district.

Noticed the show did not end with the “True Confessions” segment where the guests hold up signs making phony, but funny, personal confessions.  I wonder if it has been dropped?

So that’s the bon-bons, and the bons mots and now it is time for the bye-byes.

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