Friday, January 30, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher #341, 01/30/15 "The Big Game"

Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
by Catherine Giordano

It was time for the big game of Real time with Bill Maher, episode 341, which aired  on 01/0/15. And when I say big game, I’m talking about the Super Ball, but not just the Super Bowl. But let’s start with the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl
“The Big Game,” is the Super Bowl which occurs on Sunday February 1. In the monologue Maher called it “our national religion.”  He then continued by making an allusion to “deflategate”, so mysteriously under inflated footballs, that has dominated the new for the past week.  He made an allusion to Katy Perry, who will be singing at half time, and promised us that a certain part of her anatomy would definitely not be deflated.

Later Bill spoke about football with the mid-show guest, Mel Brooks, film director, screenwriter, comedian, actor, producer, composer, songwriter who  is best known as the producer of comic farces and parodies. (Nine of his best movies are included in The Mel Brooks Collection.) Bill was talking about the terrible physical toll taken on the players who suffer brain damage and a life of constant pain.  

Mel Brooks had this to say about when people should play football: “From Age 5 to 10—no football. From age 10 to 15—only touch football, no tackling. From age 15 on--no football.”
Mel Brooks
Maher mentioned that Brooks was 88 years old and he recently did a one-man show which will air on HBO on Saturday night (1/21/15) at 9pm (8 central), Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen. Maher also congratulated Brooks for being one of only 12 EGOT’s people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. Brooks added that he had also been a Kennedy Center honoree.
At time Mel Brooks was on his game with funny and witty comments. At times he was showing his age.  He told a long rambling story about Cary Grant. Evidently, Brooks met Grant when he was a young man newly arrived in Hollywood.  When Grant asked Brooks to join him for lunch at the studio commissary, he was over the moon. (“I paid,” Brooks said.) Grant started calling him every day and they discovered they had a lot of mutual likes and dislikes. Brooks mentioned these in great detail. The punch line was anti-climatic. Brooks hero-worship was deflated after all these calls. Brooks had gotten bored with Grant and refused to take his calls.
Mitt Romney is out of the game
The biggest news of the week, after deflategate, was Mitt Romney’s announcement that he was withdrawing from the game—he will not seek the Republican nomination for president. Maher joked, that Romney was getting out for health reasons: “He couldn’t handle the stress of pretending to care about poor people.”
Romney said he wanted to clear the field for a fresh-face. Was this a dig at Jeb Bush? Nowadays the race for president starts so early and is so fast-paced that a candidate withdraws before he even formally announces.
The Money Game
Maher said that the Koch brothers are going to put $889 million into the race. Maher joked, that even Romney, with four mansions and his car elevator, was too poor for this race. He was the front runner and the Koch Brothers pushed him out. Romney who had crushed his opponents with money in the 2012 primary realized “I can’t play in this game
Joaquin Castro, representative to Congress (D, TX) said, “We are moving to an oligarchy. They want to buy the country. The question is will the American people sell it to them.” He added, “It’s an arms race—raise the money or lose the election. 
Katty Kay is a journalist, lead anchor of BBC World News America, and author. Her most recent book is The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance---What Women Should Know. She said, “The Democrats would do it too, if they could. She added, “It is only going to get worse.”
Monica Mehta, financial writer and commentator and author of The Entrepreneurial Instinct: How Everyone Has the Innate Ability to Start a Successful Small Business  joined in on the discussion saying that maybe “the extremeness we are seeing, such big numbers and such shamelessness, will be a call to action.”  My opinion is that it doesn’t matter if the public is outraged if the game is so rigged that we can’t do anything about it.
The Republicans took over Congress and they know how the game is played. Maher told us the very first thing they did was vote to weaken Dodd-Frank, a bill that tightened the rules on Wall Street to prevent them from crashing the economy again. It was payback time for all the money the fat cats had invested in their campaigns. 
Kay tried to defend this and Brooks quipped, “You should be in the Olympics the way you skated around Dodd-Frank.”
The Spy Game
Laura Poitras is a documentary film director and producer. Her latest documentary, Citizenfour has nominated for a 2015 Oscar and is the favorite to win.  It’s about Eric Snowden and the NSA spying. Poitris is against the government classifying information as secret when it is information the public has a right to know. They both agreed that Snowden was sincere when he said that he became a whistleblower because the NSA was misusing its power to spy and was invading the privacy of citizens and hiding information these citizens had a right to know.
Babrbie Doll
Barbie Doll Games
The mid-show comedy segment was about the decline in sales of Barbie dolls.

Evidently little girls are no longer fascinated with the feminine perfection this doll is supposed to represent. 

Bill suggested some new Barbie dolls.

  • Student Loan Barbie is a stripper with a pole for an accessory. Evidently because that is the only job she can get that pays enough to pay off the loan.
  • The Mormon Barbie comes with three sister wives.
  • The Texas Barbie is pregnant because all the abortion clinics have been closed. 
  • The Disney Land Barbie has measles.
  • The Camille Cosby Barbie has blinders on (because she refuses to beleive the stories about her husband drugging and raping 35 women.)
Republicans Gaming the Public
Save the Middle Class Bill Maher
In New Rules, in a segment called “Nixed Income”, Maher called out Republicans for their sudden interest in “middle class economics.”  Suddenly they are talking about income inequality and blaming it on the Democrats. Maher sarcastically said, “Those damn Democrats fighting the Republican Party’s efforts to help the middle class.”  He opined that “There is no shame in the Republican game.”

Maher jabbed, “The Republicans used to say ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ which is easy to say when you are on a yacht.”
He made Sarah Palin’s recent speech in which she appeared to be babbly and sprouting random phrases—much more than she usually does.  Maher said , “If Sarah Palin had a stroke, how would we know?” 
Maher then got serious and talked about the middle class. He said, a society with a thriving middle class is a fluke and a middle class is not the normal by-product of capitalism.  The U.S. had a middle class after WW II because of socialism. Taxes on the rich were as high as 90%. and this money was redistributed it through social programs like the G.I. Bill, free education, low-cost mortgages, etc.

Read more about this and see the video clip here: Middle Class Economics

Games Game Games
Bill Maher is the Super Bowl of comedy/talk shows. Let the games begin. 

Bill Maher’s Guests:  #341 January 30, 2015

Katty Kay. Journalist, lead anchor of BBC World News America, author. Her most recent book is The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance---What Women Should Know 

Monica Mehta;  Financial writer and commentator, author of
The Entrepreneurial Instinct: How Everyone Has the Innate Ability to Start a Successful Small Business, ambassador for Operation Hope, a non-profit financial literacy organization. 
Laura Poitras: Documentary film director and producer. Her films include My Country, My Country. Her latest documentary, Citizenfour  (about Eric Snowden), is nominated for a 2015 Oscar.

Mel Brooks: Film director, screenwriter, comedian, actor, producer, composer, songwriter. He is best known as the producer of comic farces and parodies.  Nine of his best movies are included in The Mel Brooks Collection  

Joaquin Castro:  Representative in congress (D, TX)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher, #340, 01/23/15 "Crazy"

Howard Dean
Howard Dean
by Catherine Giordano

It’s deflategate! A football was under-inflated, as Bill Maher said, "Just like Sarah Palin’s brain.” Maher added, “You’d think Tom Brady got ebola and crashed a Malaysian Airlines plane into Benghazi.”  

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died.  Maher said, “I’ll think of you every time I go to an Italian restaurant and see the tablecloth.  The successor to the throne is King Salman.  It’s said he be suffering from Alzheimer’s.  Maher said, “He’s really gone. He’ll say one thing and then the next minute say something completely different. Just like Mitt Romney.”

The official Republican response to President’s state of the union address was a little off its rocker. Joanie Ernst and her “bread bags on my feet” is the punch line for umpteen dozen jokes. Her robotic speaking style is the butt of joke as well.  Her whole manner, right down to her helmet-head hair made me think she was an animatronic mannequin left over from the 1960 world fair. (If all the kids had bread bags on their feet, what was the point to the story?) Oh well, when you can’t talk policy, talk bread bags.   

War is crazy: The Interview 
The interview was with James Fallows, a journalist, national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, “The Tragedy of the American Military.” He has written several books. His most recent book is China Airborne: The Test of China’s Future. He is also the author of Blinded into Bagdad: America’s War into Iraq. 

Fallows said. “The biggest strategic mistake as invading Iraq. The trillions we spent were a total waste.” He said “We lost the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”  He reminded us about President Eisenhower’s concerns about the military. He pointed out that the way to get infrastructure done in this country is to call it defense.  

Fellows said, "Saying 'thank you for your service' to a soldier is not enough. You need to vote to end wars. 

Congress is crazy: Ninja Obama is back 

Ninja Obama
Maher said that after watching the state of the union address he knew “ninja Obama was back. He talked about “middle-class-economics”, taxes on the rich, free college, etc. Obama is back on offense. “Middle class economics” is the answer to “trickle-down economics.” 

Who coined that term anyway? Trickle-down makes me think of urine running down someone’s leg. And how insulting! It’s saying the rich get it all and the rest of us can have what trickles down. Like a dog under the table waiting for table scraps to fall to the floor. That’s the images I get from trickle-down. Maher sad that the 80 richest people in the world are worth what the entire lowest 50% are worth combined.  

Of course, Republicans have to denigrate Obama. The Republican panelist, Bret Stephens, journalist for the Wall Street Journal, couldn’t wait to sneer, “It took Obama six years to mention it.” Maher quickly corrected him. “We don’t have it because Congress wouldn’t give it. Obama was standing under bridges asking Congress for money for his jobs programs.”  

Stephens tried a new tack, “Republicans are champions of growth which helps the poor.” (I guess he was talking about those table scraps again.) Howard Dean, doctor, former governor of Vermont, former chairman of the DNC, co-founder of Democracy for America,” and author of Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform, also upbraided Stephens for talking nonsense. Dean said, “That has been completely discredited.” 

Maher went on to mention all the good economic news, more jobs, stock market gains, etc. all accomplished despite Republican opposition.   

Stephens couldn’t say the economic facts so he tried to say it wasn’t good news; it was bad news. “It is low interest rates that raised the Dow. Low interest rates hurt the middle class.” 

Maher needed to move on, so this bit of idiocy went unnoticed. Low interest rates allow business to expand and create more jobs and low interest rates help the middle class to afford a mortgage to buy a home. 

Republicans have taken up the cry, “income inequality” because that is the only bad news in the “Obama economy.” I agree income inequality is a big unsolved problem. Obama has proposals to address it, the fair pay for women act, the raise the minimum wage act, the free college education act. He advocated for all of these in the State of the Union address. The consensus is that all these proposals are DOA in the Republican congress. Republicans won’t even vote on these acts. So what are the Republican proposals to reduce “income inequality”? The same discredited answer they have for everything--lower taxes for the rich. 

Crazy denial of climate change
climate change
If you have children,
climate change should be a priority.
Maher informed us that there have been 10,855 peer reviewed articles published on climate change. Only two of them rejected that climate change was happening and it was caused by human activities. In the last 15 years, 14 of them have been the hottest year on record. 2014 was gain the hottest year on record.  

I’m going to call Stephens “the artful dodger.” He reminds me of a bantam-weight boxer who manages to win by dodging and weaving. He moves with one spurious argument to another sometimes saying stuff that is so ridiculous that no has a comeback for it.

Stephens cited a study that he said showed that Maher was wrong. No one else on the panel had ever heard of this study. (Maybe it was one of the two studies that Maher referred to.)  

Then Stephens said it was a matter of priorities. Maher stated, “If you have children, I don’t know how climate change cannot be your priority. My priority is that I want to keep breathing…Earth is the one place that sustains human life.”  

Finally, he said, "Consensus should not rule science.” He cited Galileo being right about the planets revolving around the sun when everyone else thought the sun revolved around the earth. Everyone on the panel was too stunned to reply. Maher sputtered, “But that was the church.” What he was trying to say was that the church disagreed with Galileo, not the scientists. It took a while—there weren’t a whole lot of scientists around back then and the church had threatened them into silence, but once more scientists weighed in, Galileo’s views became the consensus.  

Science is always about consensus. Climate change theories were not immediately accepted. Over time, consensus was achieved as more and more evidence was found to support the theory and very little evidence was found to support the opposing theories.  

Stephens's remarks were so appallingly stupid, and all the more dangerous because they were covered with a veneer of seriousness. Stephens is the most dangerous of the crazies—he looks and sounds like he knows what he is talking about, but he is nothing more than the artful dodger. He has a book America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder. I wonder if the book is also filled with nonsense and stupidity. 

Crazy song titles: The mid-show comedy segment
Bread Bags on My Feet
Talking about stupidity about climate change, Maher said that Joanie Ernst said one of the stupidest things he had ever heard. “I have not seen any proven proof.” 

It seems Ernst was not only a hog castrator, she was also once a country singer. (I don’t know if the latter part is true or if it was just part of the joke.)

Maher gave us some of the song titles from her album “Bread Bags on My Feet.”  
  • Harper Valley NRA
  • I Walk the Line to Keep the Mexicans Out
  • Mothers, Don’t Let Your Sons Grow Up to be Scientists
  • Stand by Your Tan (The John Boehner Song)
  • A Boy named Lindsey
  • The Only Thing Gay about My Marriage was the Priest
  • Crazy (No Seriously I’m F@#king Crazy)

See the video CLICK HERE

Crazy funny: Bill Burr
The mid-show guest was Bill Burr, a comedian, podcaster, and actor. He has a DVD: Bill Burr: Let it Go. His movies include Walk of Shame and his newest movie, Black or White.

Maher asked Burr if he thought political correctness was ruining comedy. Burr dismissed the whole notion. “It is nothing more than 20 people with a hashtag.” He called it “manufactured strategic outrage.” Maher said, “If you are not in my audience you have no right to complain.”
Movies about crazies: The American Sniper 
Maher said, the movie The American Sniper, has already earned $105 billion dollars an unheard of amount. In contrast, The Hurt Locker, which dealt with the same theme, earned only $17 million, probably because it was more artful and ambiguous. “The American Sniper is about a psychopath patriot.”  

Panelist, Nia-Malika Henderson who is a political reporter for The Washington Post said, “Americans just want to see someone doing some patriotic act because most people think the war wasn’t worth it.”

Stephens, of course, had to disagree. He said, “It’s an honest movie about war.” 

Crazy terrorists
Republicans have their panties in a bunch because Obama uses the phrase Mid-East terrorists instead of Islamic terrorists.

Howard Dean gave a very good explanation for not using the word “Islamic.” “[Calling them Islamic] gives them a propaganda victory.” Exactly. They are thugs and murderers and they are not acting on behalf of the religion of Islam. Dean said, "If we call them Islam, it makes it easier for them to recruit.” Exactly. A call to defend your religion is much more likely to attract recruits than a call to help this guy become the biggest war lord in the Mid-East.

In Overtime,  Stephens debated Dean on this again. “As a physician, you know you can’t cure a disease if you don’t name it.”  Stephens is so oily with his false analogies, I want to slap him. If someone tries to mug me, I don’t have to know his name to defend myself. Further, as was discussed last week (See my review titled Free Speech ), the terrorists are not acting on behalf of Islam. I wish Dean had said, “As I physician, I know I can’t cure a disease if I give it the wrong name.”

Maher was on the wrong side of the argument on this one. He’s still so upset for people calling him out as a racist because he said Islam was a religion of war. So is Christianity and Judaism—denigrating and warring against people of different religions is one aspect of religion.

There are 5,000 terrorists groups who want to be called Islamic, but they do not represent the billion Muslims in the world. To call them “Islamic” elevates them to the billion people who revere Islam. 

I am glad that Obama is not falling for their trick to make their acts of terrorism seem like a holy war in defense of Islam. This whole debate is nothing more than “strategic manufactured outrage.” 

Crazy New Rules: Elephant Men
Bill Maher's Billionaire Buers Guide
There is a slew of Republicans vying to attract their very own billionaire “sugar daddy” to fund their ambitions to win the Republican nomination for president.

There are so many that the billionaire “donor class” may have trouble sorting them all out. Bill Maher wants to be helpful, so he has provided “The Billionaire Buyers Guide.”  

  • It begins with Rick Perry who “wears glasses so he won’t seem like the evangelistic shit-kicker with limited intellect that he actually is.”
  • It continues with Marco Rubio who everyone thinks is the kid Janet Reno sent back to Cuba.
  • Ted Cruz likes the keystone pipeline because "he too oozed down from Canada" where he was born.
  • Rand Paul has some good ideas about changing the drug laws and giving ex-cons the right to vote, but "he is like a Swiss army knife where half the blades are useful and half are Q-tips and AIDS needles."
  • Mike Huckabee is "the guy everyone says is likeable, but no one says he likes.”
  • Ben Carson is the Republicans “black friend du jour” and an "insane paranoid who will say anything.”
  • Chris Christie “always goes with his gut” (insert joke of your choice here) and “he will chew you up and not spit you out.”
  • Jeb Bush is “the smart Bush,”  but the last President Bush had a 22% approval rating when he left office.
  • And it ends with Mitt Romney with his “unbearable whiteness of being” who in his quest for the presidency is “like your dog who wants that piece of Slim Jim that you dropped into the couch.“

See the video CLICK HERE

Crazy Crazy Crazy
Has the whole world gone crazy? Stop the crazy, I want to get off.

Bill Maher’s Guests for January 23, 2015

Howard Dean: doctor, former governor of Vermont, former chairman of the DNC, co-founder of Democracy for America, author of Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform 

James Fallows: journalist, national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly (“The Tragedy of the American Military.” ) He has written several books. His most recent book is China Airborne: The Test of China’s Future. He also wrote Blinded into Bagdad: America’s War into Iraq. .

Bill Burr: comedian, podcaster, actor. He has a DvD: Bill Burr: Let it Go. His movies include Walk of Shame and his newest movie, Black or White.

Nia-Malika Henderson: political reporter for The Washington Post (The Fix)

Bret Stephens: columnist, journalist for the Wall Street Journal, Pulitzer Prize winner, author of America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher #339 01/17/16 “Free Speech”

Free Speech
Free Speech
by Catherine Giordano

Where does free speech end and hate speech begin? Maher and his guests tried to find the answer on Real Time with Bill Maher, episode 339, which aired on January 16, 2015. 
Free speech means free to provoke. 
One thing on Maher’s mind was Pope Francis (no more Pope Frank—the bromance is over.). Maher announced, “You are dead to me now.”) In the monolog, Maher reported that the Pope said that you should not provoke and then to demonstrate his point, he made a punching motion towards his aide “just like Jesus said.”   

Maher returned to this subject in New Rules. It was personal to him because Maher just did a commencement speech at Cal Tech and some students wanted him disinvited because of his remarks about Islam with Ben Afleck.  (See Wake Up, America ) Maher gave his speech any way, and in the New Rules bit, he said, “Where do I go to protest you?” 

Maher said if liberals are throwing around terms like “bigot,” then they are “Je suis part of the problem.” Maher said we should not advocate boycotts of Rush Limbaugh because we don’t like what he says. Countries like France are wrong to make it a crime to deny the Holocaust. The Ku Klux Klan should be allowed to march. The speech is offensive to him, but if we want free speech, it must all be permitted.  

How do I use my free speech to respond to speech that is bigoted except by calling the person saying these things a bigot? Isn’t it my free speech right to call them bigots? 

Maher makes jokes about The Donald looking like an orangutan and goes even further saying Trump is the love child of his mother and an orangutan. I know Trump finds this very offensive. (He tried to sue Maher over the jokes.) I think the joke is funny and laugh because I don’t like Donald Trump. 

I think the movie, The Interview, that ridicules Kim Jong Un and makes jokes about his assassination is funny because I don’t like Kim Jong Un, but what if the North Koreans made a move about the assassination of President Obama? I’d be angry.  

free speech
Free speech?
The cartoons of Charlie Hebdo were very offensive to some Muslims and nothing more than political satire to others. To Muslims it was hate speech. They are just as offended by these cartoons as I am by the Ku Klux Klan. (However, I don’t get a machine gun and start shooting the people who have offended me.) 

It is really hard to support the free speech of people who don’t just disagree with you, but disagree with you in a hateful way. Perhaps we should only draw the line where hate speech turns into hate acts. But it is so easy to cross that line. It happened in Nazi Germany.   

So is the answer then to censor some speech? Now I am right back where I started.

The interview  
Atul Gawande is a surgeon, public-health researcher, professor, chairman of Lifebox, (a nonprofit which aims to reduce deaths in surgery globally), and author of several books. His most recent book is Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. He is also a very engaging guest.

Atul Gawande
Atul Gawande
He got into a tussle with Maher about the flu vaccine.  Maher thinks the flu vaccine is, in his word, “b.s.” Gawande explained why the flu vaccine was beneficial, and even worthwhile (saving 15,000 to 20,000 lives) when it is less than 100% effective.  Maher continued to say the flu vaccine was a scam. Is Maher a vaccine bigot? When you continue to state an opinion about something even after your opinion has been shown to be false, isn’t that the definition of a bigot.  

Gawande is taking on the subject of death and dying. He reported that the time in your life when you are most likely to have surgery is during the last week of your life.  He said that in the 1950’s most of us died at homes. Now we die in nursing homes and hospitals where we have been put for our own safety. Gawande said, “What old people really want is not safety, but autonomy."  
Josh Barro
Josh Barro
Panelist Josh Barro is a correspondent for The New York Times self-identifies as a neoliberal and a Republican.
“Neoliberal” appears to be another word for libertarian, and he is very calm and well-spoken for a Republican. Unlike last week’s Republican, Carly Fiorina, he did not pound the table, he did not spout gibberish, he did not give us smug facial expressions). He made sense.

Barro said that in the United States, unlike in Europe, Muslims are integrated into society.  In Europe there is the legacy of colonialism complicating things. (Most European Muslims have immigrated from countries formerly ruled over by the European country where they now live.  There is a lot of resentment. Barro also blames high unemployment and living off of government benefits. It’s true that being on welfare hurts one’s self-esteem, but I hope that Barro’s solution is to address the unemployment and not just to cut off the benefits.
Maher added “Sometimes in a melting pot, people don’t melt.” 
Obama has been getting a lot of heat lately for using the term “radical terrorism” instead of “Muslim terrorism.” Obama is right not to inflame by implying that these terrorists are terrorists because they are Muslim. Barro said that in Europe, only 5% of Muslims attend religious services. He said the problem is not religion but a lack of social integration.
Mitt Romney  
Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney is running for president again. He made a speech about his intentions on a “moth-balled aircraft carrier that had outlived his usefulness.” Do you think Romney saw any hidden meaning in that? 
Romney appears to be trying to reinvent himself as the anti-poverty candidate, just one more reinvention in a long series or reinventions. Earth to Romney: 1)Republicans don’t like anti-poverty candidates. 2)You are the last person in the world anyone would believe was sincere about anti-poverty. 
Wes Moore
Wes Moore
The United States is ending the embargo with Cuba.  Maher asked if the pace of change with Cuba would go as fast as it did with gay marriage and the legalization of pot. 
Panelist Wes Moore is a businessman, U.S. Army veteran, host of "Beyond Belief" on the Oprah Winfrey Network, author.  His first book, The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, became an instant New York Times bestseller. His most recent book is The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters.

Moore said that his grandmother was from Cuba and that Europeans have freely visited Cuba all along. They have some of the best beaches in the world and it is an inexpensive place to visit.  
Prison Reform 
Maher mentioned that it is ironic that U.S. embargoed Cuba while maintaining a prison, Guantanamo Bay, on the island.  This was a segue into a discussion of prison reform. Maher pointed out that the U.S. has more people in prison than any other country.  Barro mentioned that during the last recession, the prison population went down because it was too expensive, but now the number of prisoners is on the rise again.

Josh Gad
Josh Gad
Panelist Josh Gad, an actor best known for voicing Olaf in Frozen, asked “Where is the
money to reform people?” Prisoners are warehoused, but most of them will eventually be released unprepared for re-entry. I agree.
Maher said that he liked the idea of free college for two years.  He said, “It would get people ready for a job, so they don’t sell pot.” So true, a year of college is much less expensive than a new of imprisonment.  Yet there is always money for building new prisons, but not for education (in or out of prison).
In the monolog, Maher joked that the best British movies this year were about a brilliant astrophysicist (Stephan Hawking, The Theory of Everything) and a brilliant mathematician (Alan Turing, The Imitation Game). "In the United States the biggest movies were about a wrestler, a drummer, and a sniper—everything a boy wants to be when he is ten." 
The 25 biggest movies in recent years have all featured superheroes, aliens, wizards, or talking animals of some sort. The only exception was The Titanic. 
Maher talked about the new movie Selma about Martin Luther King.  Some have faulted the movie because they say President Johnson’s support for the Voting Rights Act is not sufficiently shown.  Maher said, “A biopic doesn’t tell the whole story. When you don’t leave things out, you get 17 hours of The Hobbit. (By the way, Selma is a great movie—go see it.)
Mid-Show Guest: Kathryn Bigelow 
Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow is a director, producer and screenwriter. Her two most recent movies are Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker.  She was on the show to promote her  campaign to prevent the extinction of elephants and her animated/live action short/PSA called  Last Days.   
She told us that elephants are the most intelligent and sensitive communal creatures on Earth (she didn’t exclude humans), and that they could be extinct in the wild in 11 years.  They are being killed or their ivory. She claims that the profits from this illicit ivory trade are funding terrorism.
Her film is very short, very beautiful, and very important.  Please watch it now.
Mid-Show Comedy Segment
Politicians getting ready to campaign for office always have a book.  Maher had fun renaming some of these books. 
  • Marco Rubio’s book: Hispanic But Not Too Much.
  • Rand Paul: Just Like My Dad Without the Crazy Parts
  • Sarah Palin: Hey Sucker. Yeah You. Give Me $29.95
  • Donald Trump:  Me Want Banana. Me Climb Tree. Inside the Mind of a Half-Human Half-Orangutan Billionaire
  • Mitt Romney: What Do I Have to Do to Be President? Suck Your Dick? OK, I’ll Do It.

Read more on this and see the video clip here: Bill Maher: So Sue Me

More Free Speech
The last two book titles are very offensive, but free speech means never having to say you are sorry for being offensive.
Bill Maher’s Guests January 16, 2015.
Josh Gad: actor best known for voicing Olaf in Frozen 

Atul Gawande: surgeon, public-health researcher, professor, chairman of Lifebox, (a nonprofit which aims to reduce deaths in surgery globally) and author of several books. His most recent book is Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End 

Josh Barro: Self-identifies as a neo-liberal and a Republican, correspondent for The New York Times. (I checked the definition of neo liberal—it sounds like just another word for libertarian.) 

Wes Moore: businessman, U.S. Army veteran, host of "Beyond Belief" on the Oprah Winfrey Network, author.  His first book, The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, became an instant New York Times bestseller. His most recent book is The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters 

Kathryn Bigelow: director, producer, screenwriter. Her two most recent movies are
Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker.  She has started a campaign to prevent the extinction of elephants and has produced an animated/live action short/PSA called  Last Days.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher #338 01/9/15 “No Joking”

by Catherine Giordano

Charie Hebdo
My French is not too good, but I think it says
"700 lashes if you don't die laughing."
'Charia" means "Sharia."
"Hebdo" means "weekly."
Real Time with Bill Maher began the new season with a bang. Maher’s theme was “No joking” and he had some excellent guests to amplify his points. The terrific guests were Chris Hardwick, Jay Leno, Paul Begala, and Salmon Rushdie. Carly Fiorina was also present.

Bill Maher began his monologue saying that free speech and joking were under attack. First the North Koreans did not want any joking about their glorious leader and the movie, The Interview” which featured a plot about some bunglers attempting to assassinate him, got pulled from theater chains. And now the much more serious case of the offices of a satirical magazine in France, Charlie Hebdo, being attacked by Islamic murderers because of satirical cartoons about Mohammed (another glorious leader who should never be insulted). Eight members of the staff were killed in the attack.

Maher commended the remaining members of the staff who have proclaimed that the next edition of the magazine will come out on time with a million extra copies printed. He compared the bravery of Charlie Hebdo to the cowardice of Sony. He offered mock congratulations to Sony for “putting up less resistance than the French.” He then said that the proper response to terrorists was “in the immortal words of Dick Cheney as spoken on the floor of the Senate, ‘Go f*@k yourself.’”

America is supporting France during this crisis, so much so, Maher said, “that the Senate wants to change ‘freedom fries” back to “French fries.’”

Interview: Chris Hardwick on Cyber Space
Chris Hardwick
Chris Hardwick
Maher did the interview with Chris Hardwick, a comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, podcaster, television host for @Midnight on Comedy Central, and author of The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level in Real Life).

Chris talked about hacking and about keeping your data secure. Have secure passwords. Don’t use public wi-fi. Never say anything in email or a text that you wouldn’t shout out loud in the middle of Times Square.

Hardwick said there was a lot of cyber crime in Russia because I lot of people have math and computer skills, but no job. He said not all cyber crime was done for monetary gain. Cyber terrorism in support of a cause. Hard core black hat hacking is done just because some people “want to burn stuff down”—they get their jollies by destroying things.

World reaction to Charlie Hebdo
Hacking can be a two-way street. A hacker group known as “Anonymous” (not sure what category they are in) has announced that will destroy all Islamic terrorist websites.

There has been universal condemnation of the attack. Even Islamic groups have not remained silent this time; they have spoken out to condemn it.

Maher said, referring to Islam, “Where there is this many bad apples, something is wrong with the orchard.”

Salman Rusdie
Salman Rushdie
Salmon Rushdie, author of several books including Joseph Anton: A Memoir (about the time he spent in hiding because there was a fatwa calling for his murder due to his book, The Satanic Verses: A Novel) and his latest novel, Shame: A Novel, made news with his statements. Literally, I saw a clip from the Real time on TV the next day featuring Rushdie. He said that most of the Islamic terror groups were not about the west, but were part of attempts to “seize power in the Islamic world.” They want to return to the 7th century, to the time when the Prophet lived.

Rushdie said that the best thing we can do is “don’t give a f*@king inch.” He objected to the “but brigade.” People who say they are for free speech …but they should have been more respectful, more sensitive, whatever.

Maher replied, “To a coward courage always looks like stupidity.” I put that quote in bold type because it is so good. Somebody needs to put it on a tee shirt, with “Je suis Charlie Hebdo” on the other side.

Rushdie said “We have to rock the boat. It’s our function. What would a respectful political cartoon look like?”

Read more about this discussion and see the YouTube video: Maher, Rushdie, and Charlie

Mid-show comedy Segment: Other Movies Sony Pulled
Maher showed us some movie posters for fake moves that might cause enough controversy and would have to be pulled. Some of them were:
  • Tyler Perry in Medea Gets Choked Out by a Cop
  • Mel Gibson in The Girl with the Swastika Tattoo
  • Ray Rice in Black Chick Down
  • Bill Cosby in While You were Sleeping
Jay Leno
Jay Leno
Jay Leno
The mid-show guest was Jay Leno. Now that Jay Leno is no longer hosting The Tonight Show, (See Behind the Curtain: An Insider’s View of Jay Leno’s Tonight Show by Dave Berg) he has more time to devote to his cars. He is doing two shows about cars: Garage which can be seen on YouTube and a car show for CNBC.

Maher asked Leno, “If you had to choose between jokes and cars which would you choose?” Leno said, “Jokes because the jokes pay for the cars.”

The Republican contenders for 2016
Maher said that Mitt Romney will run again.

Paul Begala
Paul Begala
Paul Begala, Democratic campaign strategist and author of many books on politics including his newest one assessing the possible 2016 candidates, 2016 Scouting Report: American Bridge's Media Guide to the Republican Presidential Bench,

thought this was wonderful news. He said, “I have a whole warehouse of old attack ads.” He added, “The Republicans always choose the oldest white guy next in line.” “Bush, Christie, Romney, the potty-trained Republicans.” Sorry Paul, I have to disagree with you about Christie. There are a few lessons he failed to learn in kindergarten.

Economic News
The economic news has been so good. The Dow has tripled since Obama took office. Unemployment is down to normal levels. Gas is cheap. Maher showed clips of Republicans making campaign promises on these issues and then said, “Obama has achieved all the Republican goals.

Carly Fiorina, former business executive, failed U.S. Senate candidate (R CA), author of Tough Choices: A Memoir and possible contender for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, (Yes, really—she says may run.) had to be the ants at the picnic. She put on her sourest face and nagging like a buttinski mother-in-law started ranting about poverty rates and income inequality.

Maher scoffed at her incredulously. “You care about income inequality!?” It turns out she vociferously says she does. Not that she has a plan to fix it, but just as something she could use to beat up Obama.BTW, Obama has a plan--raise the minimum wage. I wish Maher had called her fluff and asked her for her opinion of Obama’s plan to reduce income equality by raising the minimum wage.

Begala said, “We have the best economy in the world because we have a President who knows what he is doing.” Fiorina was screaming now, “Income inequality, Income inequality.” She was like a jack in the box—you slam down the lid, but she just keeps popping up. Oh, yes, Carly, please run for President. We need the jokes.

New Rules: Policeman’s Bawl
Baby with Pacifier
Drop the binky.
The final New Rules segment was about the New York Police Department and New York Mayor de Blasio. What did de Blasio do to raise the ire of the police? He said, “Many families wonder if their child is safe.” (de blasio has a black wife and black son.)

Maher accused the NYPD of suffering from PMS. “We have to tell them that we love them or they throw a tantrum.” Maher said with biting humor, “Next, it will be a baby with a rattle. He pointed the rattle at me. Drop the f*@king binky.”  

“Police say they are going by the book. Who wrote the book? George Zimmerman?” (BTW, Zimmerman just got arrested again—domestic violence against a girl friend again. How desperate do you have to be to be Zimmerman’s girlfriend?)   

Maher said the police unions were behind the bad behavior of the police. (In addition to openly disrespecting the mayor and turning a funeral into a political protest, they are engaging in a work stoppage.) The police union is supporting this bad behavior and Maher called them out for giving unions a bad name.   

Then he praised unions saying that when one in three workers belonged to a union, we had a strong middle class. Now that only one in ten belongs to a union, the middle class is sliding down the economic scale. 

“It's not hard to do the math. Wait it is, because we can’t fire teachers because of the teachers union.”
It ended there.
First Maher disses unions, then he praises unions, and then he disses unions again. Where’s the joke? Maybe there was no joking because everybody on the writers’ staff left their brains on vacation. It’s the first show of the new season—get back on your game! End with a joke that is funny. End with a joke that has some bite. End with a joke that would make Charlie Hebdo proud.