Friday, June 12, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher #356 06/12/15 "Turn Up the Heat"

by Catherine Giordano

Turn up the Heat Match flame
Bill Maher turned up the heat.


Bill Maher and his guests turned up the heat on a number of people and topics in the news this week on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday, June 12, 2015, on HBO at 10pm.

Maher and his guests were on fire.




The interview was with Ed Begley, Jr.

Ed Begley, Jr.
Ed Begley, Jr.
Ed Begley, Jr. gave a wonderful interview. He is an actor best known for his role as Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the television series St. Elsewhere (1982-1988). However, as Maher said, Begley only takes actor work to support his true vocation, environmentalist. . He is in the process of building “North America’s greenest most sustainable home.” You can watch the progress of this project on the web series On Begley Street
Begley is building it with recycled steel and has a 10,000 gallon underground storage tank for water. Maher said that he gave up his lawn because of the drought and he doesn’t miss it Begley said lawns go back to feudal times. It was a way for a rich landowner to say, “I’m so rich that I don’t have to grow crops on vast swaths of my land.” 

CLICK HERE
However, the main thing Begley wanted to talk about was not his house, but bees--specifically colony collapse disorder (CCD. We may be in danger of losing our bees. If we do not have bees to pollinate the crops, we would lose a major part of our food supply.    

Maher said, “Bees have a special place in our eco-system. Einstein said that if we wipe out our bees, we got four years to live. They are our tiniest farm workers.” Begley quipped, “And they are paid about as much.”  

I was so surprised to hear them start off the interview talking about bees because I had just written an essay on CCD. Bees leave the hive to forage and they just disappear. No one knows what causes this but it may be as Begley said “death by 1000 cuts.” So many environmental factors are stressing them that it is more than they can cope with.

Learn more about this by reading my essay: What is Killing the Honey Bees? | Colony Collapse Disorder.


Jeff Ross
Roastmaster General Jeff Ross
The mid-show guest, Jeff Ross, talked about prisons.

Jeff Ross is a stand-up comedian who is known as the “Roastmaster General” because he often hosts roasts. . He is the author of a book I Only Roast the Ones I Love: How to Bust Balls Without Burning Bridges. You can also enjoy Jeff Ross on DVD: Jeff Ross Roasts America. He has a new special, Jeff Ross Roasts Criminals, airing on Comedy Central this week.

He was playing with fire when he went to a prison and did a comedy show roast with the inmates. He wrote about his experiences on The Huffington Post website. His article is: I Went to a Texas Jail to Roast the Inmates; Here's What I Learned About Incarceration in America

Ross began the interview by saying, “I’ve roasted Charlie Sheen and Justin Bieber so I am ready for criminals.” He had a lot of incendiary things to say about the prison system in the United States.  

  • There are more black men in prison in the United States now than there were slaves in 1850.
  • There are more prisons in the United States than colleges.
  • Jails are mental institutions now.  [The mentally ill are sent to prison instead of receiving medical treatment.]

Ross told the inmates, “Crime doesn’t pay. No, it doesn’t pay for you.” He was referring to the face that prisons are big business. Maher said the towns with prisons are company towns, like with military bases. It’s true that the prisons are often in rural areas. The jobs provided by the prison are vital to the local economy.   

My thoughts are that there are too many states turning to for-profit prisons. They will need a steady supply of convicts to be successful in this business. 

Ross told the convicts. “Some of you are here for possession of less marijuana than I have in my longs right now.” Some people are in prison for marijuana possession in states where marijuana is now legal.  

Ross and Maher also discussed that although the prisons are called correctional institutions, there is very little to no rehabilitation being done. There are often long periods of solitary confinement that can wreak havoc on a person’s sanity. Most of the inmates will be sent back into society worse than when they came in. Is it any wonder the re-incarceration rate is so high. But a high re-incarceration rate is good for business.

The out of control cop at the pool party
 
Maher discussed the pool party where a white cop got burned up about some black teenagers.

Mike Pesca
Mike Pesca
Panelist Mike Pesca is the host of Slate’s podcast, The Gist, a frequent contributor to PBS’s The Newshour, and a commentator on MSNBC and CNN. He was previously a national correspondent for NPR for nearly 10 years covering a variety of topics such as sports, pop culture, politics, and economics.  Pesca said, "At least there was no dead body this time.”  He added, “Twelve cops were on the scene, 11 were good, 1 was crazy.”  The crazy one did pull his gun at one point. I think the presence of the other 11 cops acted as a restraint and that is why there was no dead body.  
 


Alexis Goldstein
Alexis Goldstein
 
Panelist Alexis Goldstein is the communications director for The Other 98%, an organizer with The Debt Collective, and a contributing writer to Medium.com’s Bull Market blog. She said, “Cops see black kids as older and more violent than their black counterparts.” Later she added, “Police over-police people of color.” 

 
 
 

Ron Christie
 Christie

Ron Christie, a columnist for The Daily Beast and founder and president of Christie Strategies, LLC (an independent media and political strategy firm).  Christie is the author of two books: Blackwards: How Black Leadership Is Returning America to the Days of Separate but Equal and Acting White: The Curious History of a Racial Slur.He was the conservative on the panel.
 
Christie went straight for blame-the-victim. He said, “People shouldn’t antagonize the cops.” He also claimed that the incident wasn’t racist.  


Economic Inequality
 
Economic inequality is going to play a role in the presidential campaigns.  

Maher said that Scott Walker was stealing Bill Clinton’s signature line “Work hard and play by the rules.” Christie couldn’t resist an off-topic snide remark, saying, “I think Bill played by his rules.” 

Pesca said the problem was the decrease in social mobility. “It’s impossible if you are not born into the top 20%.” 

Goldstein said, “We must tax capital the same as labor. Ronald Reagan said that.”  

Maher said that Republicans were starting to talk about economic inequality, but their answer is the same as before--Tax cuts for the rich which is pretty much their answer for everything.   

And then Christie did that thing that conservatives always do: Tell a bald-faced lie with an air of great conviction. “The tax cuts increased tax revenue.” No one had ever heard this before, but no one happened to have the tax revenue data on hand to refute him. So they stared at him stupefied, and then the conversation moved on.  

Bernie Sanders Liberal Erotica—mid show comedy
 
Bernie Sanders has come under fire to an essay he wrote in 1972 about women and gang-rape fantasies. He says it was meant as satirical fiction.   

This led to Maher doing some satirical fiction of his own as he spoofed erotic fiction with a book called “Be Still My Bleeding Heart.” The bit was about a man shopping at whole foods who has a burning desire for the woman with a body "like Ruth Bader Ginsburg” who works there as a cashier.  

“’When do you get off?’ he asked. She replied, ‘When Elizabeth Warren talks about credit card abuse.’”   

Later our couple gets it on and “she screams like Howard Dean after he wins a primary.” It ends with our young man saying “You are the sexiest woman” and she says, “Call me Caitlyn.” 

New Rules: Spy vs. I
 
Maher quoted the advertising line, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” and then told us how burned up he was about the fact that there is no privacy anymore. "I bought a pair of shoes online and now facebook thinks I’m obsessed with shoes." If you carry a smart phone everyone knows where you are. And “every stupid thing you say or do is recorded and uploaded to the internet for all eternity.” 

[Interestingly, Maher did this rant right after a previous New Rules segment that featured him making fun of a fight between two women at a Wal-Mart that was recorded and uploaded to the internet for all eternity.] 

Maher ended saying, “There is never a moment to let your guard down” and “Everyone starts to alter their behavior for the camera.” Then we see the video clip of the cop at the pool party doing that infamous “drop and roll” on ground and Maher concludes, “Except for the cops. They still don’t give a shit.”


List of Guests: June 12, 2015  
St. Elsewhwere
St. Elsewhere



 

The interview 
Ed Begley Jr. is an actor and environmentalist. He is in the process of building “North America’s greenest most sustainable home.” You can watch the progress of this project on the web series On Begley Street.    

Begley has won six Emmy nominations for his role as Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the television series St. Elsewhere (1982-1988).



Mid-show guest
Jeff Ross is a stand-up comedian who has a new special, Jeff Ross Roasts Criminals, airing on Comedy Central on Saturday June 13, 2015. He actually went to a prison and did a comedy show roast with them. He wrote about his experiences on The Huffington Post website. His article is: I Went to a Texas Jail to Roast the Inmates; Here's What I Learned About Incarceration in America I expect he will be talking about his experiences in the prison on Maher’s show. 

Ross is known as the “Roastmaster General” because he often hosts roasts. He is the author of a book I Only Roast the Ones I Love: How to Bust Balls Without Burning Bridges. You can also enjoy Jeff Ross on DVD: Jeff Ross Roasts America.
 
The Panel
Mike Pesca: Host of Slate’s podcast, The Gist, frequent contributor to PBS’s The Newshour, commentator on MSNBC and CNN. He was previously a national correspondent for NPR for nearly 10 years covering a variety of topics such as sports, pop culture, politics, and economics.  

Alexis Goldstein: Communications director for The Other 98%, organizer with The Debt Collective, contributing writer to Medium.com’s Bull Market blog.

Ron Christie: Columnist for The Daily Beast, founder and president of Christie Strategies, LLC (an independent media and political strategy firm). He was formerly a Special Assistant for domestic policy to former President George W. Bush.