Friday, November 7, 2014

Real Time with Bill Maher #335 11/07/14 'Talking Nice"

Lisa Kudrow
Lisa Kudrow
by Catherine Giordano

Real Time with Bill Maher, episode #335, which aired on November 7, 2014, was the perfect antidote for post-election depression. It was one of the best for good conversation. Everyone was talking nicely. Here is the review and recap.

The monolog
In the monolog, Maher got right to the Democratic defeat in the mid-term election. He said, sarcastically, “Finally white men are getting a seat at the table.” How will Republicans govern now that they control both the House and the Senate? I’m not optimistic. Neither is Maher. He said, “The day after the election, they all talked nice; the next day, they were right back to where they were before.”

Maher said that all you had to do to win was have an “R” next to your name. Even Sam Brownback in Kansas, who destroyed the state’s economy and credit rating, got re-elected. Maher quipped, “The Republicans are the party of Reagan, but that shouldn’t mean when he had Alzheimers.  

He called Joni Ernst the new Michelle Bachman. I said it first. (See the Comments Section of my review of the October 31 show, Crazy, Scary, and Weird.) Ernst prides herself on being a hog castrator, so Maher said, “If you want to cut off the Democrats balls, good luck finding them.” This harks back to the New Rules segment from the October 31 show (Crazy, Scary, and Weird) where he urged Democrats to stand up for their principles. I’m so with Maher on this one. If you are going to go down, at least go down fighting for your principles. 

Here’s the kicker. People voted by huge majorities for raising the minimum wage, and for making recreational pot legal in those states where it was on the ballot and, at the same time, they voted for the people who blocked those measures. I can only assume they didn’t know that Democrats were with them on those issues because the Democrats were too busy trying to be “Republican Lite” instead of drawing a distinction between the two parties. Dumbasses! I’m not talking nice here because it makes me so mad. All the candidates who lost on Tuesday will have a job as a lobbyist by the end of the month; it is ordinary Americans who will have to pay for their mistakes.   

P.S.: A thought just came to me. If voters knew that the minimum wage was a Democratic principle, maybe they would have voted it down. They seem to have a blind hatred for anything Democratic.

The panel discusses the election
Bernie Saqnders
Senator Bernie Sanders

On the panel, Bernie Sanders, senator (I, VT) and author of Bernie Sanders’ 2010 Filibuster on Corporate Greed: An Historic Speech, was, as always, a joy, speaking with intelligence and passion. Robert Costa, a political reporter for the Washington Post brought facts and reason to the debate. And the third panelist, Kristen Soltis Anderson, co-founder of Echelon Insights, a Republican opinion research firm, columnist for The Daily Beast, and author of The New Vote contributed to the conversation without spewing out Republican talking points. 

Maher said the election was about the continued resentment towards the first black president. Costa said, “It was about people staying home.” Sanders added, “Ordinary people are hurting and they have given up on voting.” Anderson said it was about “people being really ticked off.” 
I say that people stayed home because the Democrats didn’t give them a reason to vote. Instead of talking about all the accomplishments of the Obama administration (listed in Crazy, Scary, and Weird), they treated Obama, according to Maher, “like “a teenager treats his mom. I don’t know her.”  
Also, as Maher pointed out, the Republicans didn’t give voters a reason not to vote for them because they never talked about their principles. They didn’t tell Americans that they are against everything that Americans really, really like—Social Security, Medicare, a higher minimum wage--and for everything that Americans really, really hate--tax breaks for the rich, personhood for fertilized human ova (in some cases, just the ova).  
Maher joked about one of the best things about the election. Scott Brown lost. In New Rules he said, “You have to appreciate the irony of Brown being the hunky pin-up who lost two elections to two women. Scott Brown is like Kris brown only with Scott, women beat him.” 

Poverty in America
Hand to Mouth Linda Tirado
In the interview, Linda Tirado, a relative newcomer to the public arena, was poised and spoke very well about poverty in America very well, using wry humor to good advantage. About a new ago, she was talking to her friends on gawker about the difficulties of living in poverty, working two or three jobs while raising kids, and it went viral. (It was picked up by the Huffington Post.)

She got out of poverty when she got a book deal to write about her experiences, Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America. Maher quipped that if Romney was asked about how to get out of poverty, he’d say, “Just get a book deal.” 
I expect that her book will be just as popular as her previous writing.Tirado appears to be very intelligent and personable, and without her lucky break, she might never have been able to climb out of poverty. Poor people just can’t get a toe hold.  
Robert Costa said that Republicans celebrating their win will be a short celebration. Sanders said that Americans want a jobs program repairing the infrastructure. They want young people to be able to afford college.

Read more about the Linda Tirado interview here: Working Harder, Getting Poorer
Climate change
Congress will have to deal with climate change. Maher cited the U.N. report saying that carbon dioxide levels were up, the oceans were getting too acidic to support marine life, the sea levels are rising, and then added “the geniuses in America elect a bunch of climate deniers.” 

Maher quoted Senator Inhofe (R, OK) who said “God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.” Sanders said Inhofe really believes it, but some of the others know better. He is worried though because we are being governed by “the greedy, the cynical, and the truly stupid.”  

Sanders said that the debate within the scientific community of over. Maher mocked Republicans who try to avoid the issue by saying they are not a scientist. Maher said, “You are not a gynecologist either, but you still talk about women’s vaginas.” 

I think about the people who know better. I ask myself, “Don’t they have grandchildren? Don’t they care what kind of world their grandchildren will have to live in? Is there nothing more important to them than their greed?” 

Maher was forthright about Flip-A-District. “It went up in flames.” His consolation was, “It was always a long shot.” Then he found the humor in defeat. He did the mid-show comedy segment about other things that need flipping. 
  • Flip Mississippi: It is the fattest state in the nation. Challenge them to lose a billion pounds. 
  • Flip a Brother: Each congressperson gets their own very large black man to follow them around. 
  • Flip a Bigot: Pat Robertson has to engage in receptive anal sex with Michael Sam. The only problem will be in getting Sam to agree to it.

Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish in
The Comeback
Lisa Kudrow
The mid-show guest was Lisa Kudrow, an actress, currently starring in Showtime’s Web Therapy and HBO’s The Comeback. She creates such wonderful characters.

Kudrow is excited about the second season of The Comeback which premiers on HBO on Sunday 11/9/14 at 10pm. It has been nine years since Season One ended. Kudrow joked, “I always knew we’d catch on during the second season.”
Maher complimented her on how well she captured the dysfunction and insecurity of her character. He said, “Show business sucks if you are not in the top 1%.” Kudrow said, “It is about how much dignity you would give up for success.”

Endless Governor
In the final New Rules segment, Maher had a lot of very nice things to say about Jerry Brown, the Democratic governor of California. He had a lot of very not-nice things to say about ageism.

Governor Brown is 76 years old, and Maher said his record qualifies him for president—he took the broken state of California and fixed it. He’s active—he runs three miles a day and does yoga, but too many people think he is too old to be president. (Maher quipped, “He’s so old, his sex taps are on Betamax.”

He said that age gives people wisdom. He showed a picture of a beautiful young woman. It was a picture of Ruth Bader Ginsberg (perhaps her highschool year book photo) at the age of 18. “We are beautiful when we are young and wise when we are old.”

Warren Buffet is 84 and he’s the one everyone wants financial advice from. Larry King is 80, and he’s still the best in the talk-show host business (on the web now instead of on TV where he was replaced by a younger less effective host.) The Rolling Stones are great and Beiber sucks.

Then Maher digressed to a rant about America’s current fascination with big asses on women. He said, “Millennials should be called ‘Generation Ass’.” I think he was making the point that America is still a teenager of a county.

Returning to the subject of the linkage of age and wisdom, Maher said, “Wisdom is not something you can just google. Governing is where we need wisdom.”

His final punch line was an ageism joke, but because I am a nice person, I’m going to omit it and let Maher go out on a high note.

Bill Maher's Guests for November 7, 2014

Linda Tirado: Author of Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America, a book about what it is like to live in poverty in America
Bernie Sanders: Senator (I, VT), author of Bernie Sanders’ 2010 Filibuster on Corporate Greed: An Historic Speech
Robert Costa: Political reporter for the Washington Post
Kristen Soltis Anderson: Co-founder of Echelon Insights, a Republican opinion research firm, columnist for The Daily Beast, author of The New Vote
Lisa Kudrow: Actress, currently starring in Showtime’s Web Therapy and HBO’s The Comeback