Friday, March 20, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher #347 03/20/15 "Oh, God, No"

Bob Costas
Bob Costas
by Catherine Giordano

Bob Costas, NBC sportscaster and author of Fair Ball: A Fan’s Case for Baseball, did a good interview on Real Time with Bill Maher, episode 347,which aired on March 20, 2015. As for the rest of the show, all I can say is “Oh, God, No.”  

Bob Costas has become known not just as a sportscaster, but as someone who comments on the issues. Maher said that Costas has been speaking out on gays, guns, and concussions. He said, “Some people say “Keep the news out of sports…but what they really mean is don’t say something I disagree with.” 

Costas reminded us that sports figures have always been mixed up with issues that are in the news—sports stars like Billie Jean King, Mohammed Ali, Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe. And these days, wife-beating football players, racist owners of football teams, and a gun culture run amok. He was referring to Kansas City Chiefs linebacker who shot his girlfriend and himself in a murder-suicide. He owned eight guns.  

I say God bless him for being willing to speak out. 

Israel and Iran
Whenever I think of the Middle East all I can say is “Oh, God, No.” Obama is going his best to work with the allies of the United States to work out a deal with Iran in which Iran agrees not to pursue nuclear weapons. Unfortunately the recently reelected prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, and the Congressional Republicans are doing everything they can to sabotage the final days of the negotiations.  

Speaker of the House John Boehner is going to Israel to meet with Netanyahu. In the monologue Maher joked that Boehner’s nickname among his security detail is Agent Orange. Maher said the wailers at the Wailing Wall will soon have a new wailer. “Just wait until Super-Soaker has a good cry when he gets shit-faced there.” (Boehner is known for his drinking and his crying.) 

There was talk about how Netanyahu used anti-Arab rhetoric to win his election. As soon as he won, he did a 180. In the monologue, Maher quipped, “Mitt Romney said “Wow, that guy is good.”  
Christine Quinn
Christine Quinn
Panel member, Jack Kingston, a former U.S. Representative (R, GA), defended Netanyahu saying, “He is motivated by survival of Israel.”  
Panel member, Christine Quinn, is a Democrat politician, former speaker of the New York City Council, (the first woman and first openly gay person to hold the position), former candidate for mayor of New York City, and current advisor to the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. She is the author of With Patience and Fortitude: A Memoir. Quinn conceded that “the danger to Israel is real,” while not condoning Netanyahu’s tactics.  

Maher said that Iran is our ally against ISIS. The Muslims are having a war against themselves, like the Catholics and Protestants did back in the 16th century. The West should stay out of it. This is a war between Muslims who want to go back to the 7th century and Muslims who want to be part of the 21st century to fight. “Where are the Muslims who want to fight against ISIS?”  

Racism
Maher mentioned how in this country, Reagan Nixon and Bush all used race issues to win. Mercedes Schlapp, a conservative political strategist said “Obama played the race card.” When Maher tried to set her straight—Obama was very careful to keep race out of the election because it would have hurt him more than helped him—Schlapp became very loud and overbearing. No one else could speak. She did this many times during the show--standing up, pounding the table, shouting, talking over everyone else, interrupting—she pretty much ruined the show by making conversation impossible.  

Every time Schlapp opened her mouth I thought “Oh, God, No. Not again.” At one point in the show she said she was hot-headed, like Ted Cruz, because they are both Cuban. I’d say obnoxious and rude, but never mind. Maher pointed out that she was being racist because she was engaging in stereotypes.  

Robert Durst
Maher congratulated HBO on exposing multiple-murder suspect Robert Durst on the HBO documentary about him, The Jinx. His admission of guilt was caught by a hot mic (that he didn’t know was recording) during filling. Later Maher wondered if he would plead sarcasm. 

The panel said Durst had gotten away from it up until now because of stupid juries and slick lawyers. Kingston said that “justice is not equal when you have a big purse.” (Durst was born into a billionaire family.” Maher agreed saying that 40 of homicides go unsolved. “We don’t convict the guilty, we plea-bargain the innocent.”  

Mid show comedy segment—No God
The Durst documentary led Maher to think about his own documentary, Religulous . He pretended to have found an outtake of Pope Benedict talking to himself while he thought he was alone in the bathroom, Pope Benedict revealed that there is no God, the whole idea of the trinity makes no sense, and more. 

God’s Bankers
God's Bankers
God's Bankers
Speaking of Popes and money leads us right to the mid-show guest, Gerald Posner, Investigative journalist and author of several books. His most recent book is God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican. He told us that the Vatican bank goes back only as far as World War II when Mussolini made the Vatican an independent country. The Vatican is only two-tenths of a mile wide in return for the support of the Catholic Church during WW II.  
Maher said “A lot of Nazis were Catholic. What if the Pope had said it was a mortal sin to kill Jews?”   

Posner explained how the Vatican bank was being used for many nefarious purposes including money laundering. 

Maher said, “How is Pope Frank doing?” He mentioned that he got made at the Pope about his remarks about Charlie Hebdo (See episode 339, Free Speech ), but “I can’t stay mad at him. Imagine, I like the Pope and Mel Gibson doesn’t.”  
Maher asked Posner about the pope saying he might step down in a couple of years—resigning as Pope Benedict did before him. ( I have a theory about that also. I believe  that another HBO documentary, Mea Maxima Culpa caused the Pope to resign because it revealed how deeply he was involved with the cover in the church’s pedophile scandal. See my review of episode 270, Reason and Unreason, especially the comments.)  

Posner said, “I don’t believe it. By saying he’s leaving he energizers reformers.” They will think they have to act fast or lose their chance for reform once he has left the papacy.   

New Rules Theta Blockers
Maher took on Frat Houses in his final New Rules segment. He called them “little Vaticans” because they are an independent entity inside the large campus. “If you want to live with 40 other dudes and hold homoerotic ceremonies—why not just join a seminary.”  

Maher said fraternities kill people--pranks, hazing, alcohol poisoning—why not just pledge IIS.   

Maher concluded by saying “colleges should be places for independent thinking, but fraternities promote group think.  

Oh, God, No
Religion and God in one form or another dominated the show. It was either about there is no God or about how religion and its adherents are often doing really bad things. 
 

Bill Maher’s Guests for Friday, March 20, 2015 

The interview is with Bob Costas: NBC sportscaster and author of Fair Ball: A Fan’s Case for Baseball  

The mid-show guest is Gerald Posner: Investigative journalist and author of several books. His most recent book is God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican  

The panel includes:  

Christine Quinn: Democrat politician, former speaker of the New York City Council (first woman and first openly gay person to hold the position), former candidate for mayor of New York City, and current advisor to governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. She is the author of With Patience and Fortitude: A Memoir 

Jack Kingston: Former U.S. Representative (R, GA) 

Mercedes Schlapp: Conservative political strategist