Friday, June 27, 2014

HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher #323 "Horror and Mayhem"

Max Brooks: The Harlem Hellfighters
Max Brooks graphic novel
by Catherine Giordano

Is a co-incidence that a doctor, Martin Blaser, who has a book about modern plagues and an author, Max Brooks, who has a book about zombies are on the same show? I don't think so. Plenty of horror and mayhem in the news served up with a splash of comedy) and some mayhem caused by a horribly ignorant panelist, Andy Dean.

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In the monologue, Bill Maher spoke about the mayhem in the Republican party because of the Thad Cochran and tea-partier (and “real knuckle-dragger,” according to Maher) Chris McDaniel Republican primary race in Mississippi for the Senate. McDaniel had the lead, but Cochran in an upset, won due to a last minute effort by Cochran to persuade black Democrats to vote for him. Mississippi has open primaries, meaning that a voter can choose which primary to vote in. McDaniel and tea-party supporters everywhere are hopping mad. Maher quipped that McDaniel is demanding that the election be overturned because Cochran won with black votes and everyone knows blacks are not supposed to vote.”

Later in the show, Maher said the black voters in Mississippi knew a Democrat would never get elected in Mississippi so they voted for the least bad Republican choice. One of the panelists, Joy Reid (a black woman) who is the anchor of the MSNBC show The Reid Report, also defended blacks who came out to vote for Cochran. She said, “49% of the budget for the state comes from the federal government and the tea party wants to stop those funds and he wants to send poll-watchers to watch blacks vote.”

Here’s my plea to everyone in Mississippi who supports the tea party: In November, exact your revenge on Cochran for seeking the support of blacks--vote for the Democrat, Travis Childers, or don’t vote at all. And my plea to those blacks who voted for Cochran in the primary--come out again in November and vote for Childers. And my plea to Childers, come up with some smart campaign moves of your own and win this thing. The latest poll shows you with only 34% vs. Cochran’s 46%. Let’s have another upset in Mississippi.
Martin Blaser: The Missing Microbes

The interview was with Dr. Martin Blaser, Director of the NYU Human Microbiome Program, Professor of Microbiology at New York University School of Medicine, author of Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues. They discussed the serious consequences of the overuse and misuse of antibiotics.
Harmful bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics and new antibiotics are not being developed. Maher explained that drug companies want to develop drugs like Lipitor that people take every day. There is far more money in it than in antibiotics that people take just once in a while and only for a week. 

Blaser pointed out another problem. The good bacteria that we need to keep us healthy and alive are being killed off (reducing biotic diversity) and/or mutating also. Since World War II, there has been a huge increase in obesity, diabetes, allergies, and other problems. He posits that the effects of antibiotics on the good bacteria may be causing all of these illnesses.
After the interview, Maher brought up the subject of climate change. He noted that even some Republicans are not supporting the idea of climate change. Joy Reid said, “We can pay for the solution or pay for the clean-up. “ Another panelist, Bobby Ghosh, journalist, managing editor for Atlantic Media’s Quartz, former TIME Magazine's World Editor, and author of The New Middle East (with Time Magazine editors), added, “There is money to be made in protecting the environment." 


And then Andy Dean, host of radio talk show, America Now with Andy Dean piped up with one of his many stupid comments. You are going to put hundreds of thousands of coal miners out of a job so a rich guy in Malibu doesn’t lose a couple of feet of his beach-front property.
Maher immediately slammed him, saying “There are so many stupid lies in that one sentence. Maher accused him of pulling the number of coal miners right out of a certain aperture in his posterior. (Maher expressed it more bluntly than I just did.) He also said, "The solution was to train the current miners for better jobs." (I 100% agree. Coal mining is a dirty dangerous job. I’m sure coal miners would much rather have a job in a clean energy industry.) Reid added that coal mining is poisoning the water. (I think coal miners would like to have clean water as well as clean jobs.) 
More nuclear energy is not the solution of course, this is what Dean proposed, bemoaning the fact that no new nuclear plant has been built since Three Mile Island. Reid smartly shut him down: “That’s because of Three Mile Island.” (P.S. You guys should have mentioned Japan after the 2011 tsunami. If that doesn’t scare us off nuclear energy, what will?)  
The situation in Iraq was also discussed. Maher said that the pottery Barn rule should have a statute of limitation. “It’s not you break it and you have to work for Pottery Barn forever.”
Reid said, “We should stop infantilizing the Arab world. Everything they do is not because of us” and later, “We sowed division by trying to tinker with the Middle East. We took down a secular Sunni government and handed it to the Shia and told them to fight Iran.”
Ghosh said, “It is not about hating each other about religion. It is about power. In other countries, Sunni and Shia live side by side.” 
And what were Dean’s contributions to the discussion. 
“The Kurds were the main reason we went to Iraq.” And the Kurds love Israel and everything.” Everyone gives him a WTF look.  
“We walked away from Iraq and that is why we are here we are today. Maher yells, “Bullshit.” 
“It’s because of 9/11.” Joy angrily demands, “What did 9/11 have to do with Iraq?”
“They hate us for our way of life.” Pandemonium breaks out as everyone screams at Dean. I was screaming at my TV.  
Remember two weeks ago when I said that Tom Rogan was acting like a misbehaving child. See Totally Tripping #321) I have the same feeling about Andy Dean. (And, Tucker Carlson, although he hasn’t been on Maher’s show.) Here’s my theory. They are all short, slight, and boyish- looking. I heard Carlson say that he was ignored by the cool kids in high school. I bet the others were too. They became conservatives to get back at the cool kids who were liberal. I’m not picking on short people. Some short people, like Robert Reich, are smart enough to not go through life it a chip on their shoulder. And smart enough not to go through life behaving like stupid children. 
In a plug for #FlipADistrict, Maher urged viewers to use the hash tag to vote for who should have his district flipped. He said, ‘Vote for your ‘loser’ to win.” I’ll add, “So the ‘winner’ can lose in November.” 
Maher introduced the mid-show comedy segment by reminding us about the Clive McBundy supporting couple who shot two policemen and another person in Tulsa recently because they wanted to start a revolution, were wearing adult diapers at the time of their killing spree. This led Maher to a mock adult diaper ad for gun nuts. The ad said that if you don’t want the revolution to be cut sort because “you have to go,” you need “Defends.” The constitution is written right on the diapers which come in sizes, “small, medium, and George Zimmerman.” The tag line was, “Our movement shouldn’t be sidetracked because of yours.” 
The mid-show guest was Max Brooks, son of Mel Brooks, and author of World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead, and a graphic novel, The Harlem Hellfighters (with illustrator Caanan White). Maher said that Brooks' zombie novels were an allegory for survival of any apocalypse. 
Brooks said, “I want to talk about the larger issues, infrastructure and everything that keep civilization running.” Brooks and Maher talked about how the conservatives and tea-party are trying to strip that away. . Brooks said, “They want less government. That’s Somalia. That’s the real zombie apocalypse. Go live the dream!” 

Read about a possible real zombie apocalypse 
Brooks also talked about his new graphic novel, The Harlem Hellfighters. It is a fictional story about the true story of a World War I regiment of blacks who fought heroically in
The final segment of New Rules also focused on WW I. He said that for most wars, you can sum up the cause in a sentence the way you could do a pitch for a movie. Then he did a few movie pitches. 
Titanic:                      Two teenagers have sex and turn over a boat.
Jurassic Park:           Resurrecting dinosaurs is a shitty idea.
Wizard of Oz:            Nice girl from Kansas drops acid.
Spiderman III:           Same shit as last time.
 After this digression, Maher returns to the point. There was no point to WW I and WW I’s Treaty of Versailles, caused WW II by stripping Germany of everything but Octoberfest. The humiliation of Germany assured they would come back for revenge.
Maher concluded it a bit lamely. He said, "It’s like workplace sex or eating at Wendy’s. It feels good at the time, but eventually you’ll regret it.”
In between the horror of war and the horror of apocalypse and  the horror of stupid conservative ideas and stupid conservatives saying stupid things, there as a bit of mayhem, some of it quite delightful.
Bill Maher’s Guests, #322, June 27, 2014
Joy Reid: journalist, anchor of the MSNBC show The Reid Report, managing editor of, political columnist for the Miami Herald, and the editor of The Reid Report political blog
Andy Dean: host of America Now with Andy Dean, a radio talk show 

Bobby Ghosh: journalist, managing editor for Atlantic Media’s Quartz, former TIME Magazine's World Editor, author of The New Middle East (with Time Magazine editors)
Dr. Martin Blaser: Director of the NYU Human Microbiome Program, Professor of Microbiology at New York University School of Medicine, author of Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues