Friday, June 6, 2014

HBO "Real Time with Bill Maher" #320 June 6, 2014 "Spinning"

Spinning

by Catherine Giordano

A whole lot of spinning going on during HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Episode 320, with aired on Friday June 6, 2014.  He’s the recap, review and commentary.
 
Rumplestiltskin wanted flax spun into gold in the children’s fairytale. Similarly Republicans have taken another innocuous event and they are trying to spin it to scandal. The event is the return of Bowe Bergdalh, a prison of war being held in Afghanistan in exchange for five prisoners of war held in Guantamo Bay by the United States.  Oh well, at least it got the Republicans to shut up about Benghazi for a few minutes.
 
Maher devoted his whole monologue to the issue. He had a lot of funny lines. I’ll give just a few here.
 
·         Fox News said we don’t want to weigh in until all the facts are distorted.
 
·        We don’t trade prisoners for hostages; we trade arms for hostages (a reference to Iran-contra.)
 
·         They say Bergdahl walked off the job—who does he think he is –Sarah Palin?

See the full recap of the monolog at Bill Maher Rules.
 
Later on Maher had still more to say on the topic of Bergdahl’s release. He said that releasing five Guantanamo prisoners is no big deal even if they go back to Afghanistan.  “It is like having five more personal trainers in L.A.”  And, “If they are so bad, how come we caught them?” And later, about Obama negotiating with the enemy, “They want this to be like the Real Housewives—throw a drink in their faces. That what we do, we talk to people.”

Please share this post.  You can use the buttons at the end of the post.

The interview was with Ralph Reed, a conservative political activist, first executive director of Christian Coalition, and now head of Faith and Freedom Coalition. My guess is that Reed wanted to be on the show to plug his new book, Awakening: How America Can Turn from Economic and Moral Destruction Back to Greatness and Maher wanted to have him on the show so he could do a little Bible bashing.


Now I have nothing against religion bashing, that is, pointing out the inconvenient truths and moral contradictions of the Bible. The problem is, it’s an exercise in futility—no one’s mind is changed.  Maher points out the urgings to stone women for illicit sex and the approval of slavery in the Bible, and Reed counters by saying it is the Old Testament saying those things and Jesus did not say things like that. Maher responds, “So it is the Jew God who is bad?” The line got a laugh, but not as big a laugh as when Reed said, “It was a different kind of slavery then.” Unlike Maher, Reed was not trying to be funny. Evidently, according to Reed, there is a good kind of slavery.  

One of the panelists was Nicolle Wallace, a political commentator, former communications chief for George W. Bush, former senior advisor for the McCain-Palin campaign and author of several (White House themed) novels, most recently, It’s Classified: A Novel. I hope her novels offer more variety than her political commentary. Like a demented jack-in-the-box she kept popping up, no matter what the topic: “Obama has had six years, what has he done?”  Finally, Maher had to slap her hard across the face (verbally, not literally) and tell her she knows very well why Obama has not been able to accomplish a lot of the things on his agenda—Republican obstructionism.  I always thought Wallace was better than that—I thought she was a serious political analyst—evidently she is a spinning hack.  

It was left to another conservative panelist, Jim Geraghty, a conservative blogger and regular contributor to the National Review and the author of the (roman a clef) novel, The Weed Agency: A Comic Tale of Federal Bureaucracy Without Limits to try to present the conservative case in a reasonable manner.  Not that his ideas are reasonable--he said raising the minimum wage would raise the price of a cup of coffee at Starbucks to $20.  

The third panelist Anthony Weiner, a former congressman (D, NY) forced to resign from Congress over a sexting scandal and a former New York mayoral candidate forced to resign from the race over a sexting scandal who now works as a columnist for a web news site, Business Insider, was his usual impassioned self, arguing for the liberal point of view, with facts, reason, and passion. (Speaking of passion, I’m glad no one made mention of is sexting—he has been beat up enough over that. And the mistakes he made in his personal life don’t negate his political positions. Weiner told Geraghty that minimum wage workers eat at McDonalds, so workers with more money to spend will bring McDonald’s more business.  (Several cities and several companies have already raised their minimum wages and they are doing very well.)  

Weiner had a great line. He said, “We take your ideas and do them and now you don’t like those ideas. What ideas do you like?”  It was a rhetorical question—the two conservatives on the panel had no answer. 

The mid-show guest was John Waters, a film director, screenwriter, actor, stand-up comedian, journalist, visual artist, art collector, and author of a (sort of) memoir, Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America. He talked about the adventure that led to his new book. He stuck his thumb out in front of his house and traveled across the country—it took him 21 rides and nine days. He’s a very funny and interesting person.  Maher said that  at age 50, comfort is very important to him, but Waters, who is considerably older said, “You can’t get too comfortable.  It hurts your street cred.”  Waters also said, “Hitchhiking is like phone sex. The more you talk, the further he’ll take you. “I’m putting this book on my “To Read” list. However, I won’t be taking his advice and hitchhiking anywhere, not even to the bus stop, much less across the country.

Read more about John Waters (including his interview on The Colbert Report) on the blog: Bill Maher Rules.

The mid-show comedy segment as about how some politicians want to be elected so bad they don’t care how they do it.  They will change parties.  They will even change states, as Scott Brown has done. (He was senator R-MA and now he running as R-NH.)  It seems that some will go so far as to change their names. Scott Fistler, has not had much success getting elected in an Hispanic district in Arizona running as a Republican. Now he has legally changed his name to Cesar Chavez, and is running for Congress in the Democratic primary. He is not Hispanic and he is running against two real Democrats who really are Hispanic—he is not expected to even come close to winning.)   

This prompted Maher to do his mid-show comedy bit about political posters for other Republicans who might want to change their names to attract minority voters.  Here’s a few of the tag lines, although it is much funnier if you see the posters.    

·         Cheech McDonnell: Don’t stop thinking about tamale.
 
·         Juan Boehner: My face is red and I’m crying because this sauce is muy caliente.
 
·         Sarah James Olmos. I can see Tijuana from mi casa. 

·        To attract African Americans Chris Christie will become Andre 3000 Pounds: a chicken and waffle in every pot. 

·       To attract gays Ted Cruz will become Ted Cruising and his slogan will be “Drill Baby Drill.” 

In New Rules the final segment was named “Here Comes Gunny Boo Boo.” Maher said, “Never think it can’t get crazier.” He was referring to the people who carry guns everywhere. 

Maher quipped, “You’re in Home Depot to buy a toilet seat. You are not likely to meet armed resistance,”  followed by “Putin has not annexed Chipolte.”  

He made fun of the open-carry nuts who say if we don’t use it , we will lose it.  “No, that is frequent flyer miles.” 

Maher called them “ammo-sexualists” adding “Don’t deny it is a romantic relationship.  You are taking it out to dinner.”  

Maher also pointed out that don’t-leave-home-without-your-assault-rifle types did what progressives couldn’t do. They go guns banned.  (Several restaurants have asked patrons not to bring guns into their stores.)   

Maher ended with “If you want to die in a fast food restaurant, you will have to do it the old fashioned way by eating their food.”   

My head was not exactly spinning like the demon possessed girl in The Exorcist [Director’s Cut: Extended Edition], but the one-liners and punditry kept my head spinning pretty much throughout the show.

Please share this post.  You can use the buttons at the end of the post.


Guests: June 6, 2014
John Waters: film director, screenwriter, actor, stand-up comedian, journalist, visual artist, and art collector, and author of a (sort of) memoir, Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America 

Ralph Reed: conservative political activist, first executive director of Christian Coalition, now head of Faith and Freedom Coalition, author of several political books. His latest book is Awakening: How America Can Turn from Economic and Moral Destruction Back to Greatness. He has also written a novel, Ballots and Blood: A Novel  

Jim Geraghty: conservative blogger and regular contributor to National Review, author of the (roman a clef) novel, The Weed Agency: A Comic Tale of Federal Bureaucracy Without Limits 

Nicolle Wallace: political commentator, former communications chief for George W. Bush, former senior advisor for the McCain-Palin campaign, and author of several (White House themed) novels, most recently, It’s Classified: A Novel 

Anthony Weiner: former congressman (D, NY), forced to resign from Congress over a sexting scandal, former New York City mayoral candidate, forced to resign from the race over a sexting scandal  (Some people never learn.)