Friday, August 28, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher #362 08/28/2015 "Shame"

by Catherine Giordano
Wendy Davis

It’s a crying shame! Bill Maher and his guests talked about a lot about things certain people should be, or not be, ashamed of during episode #362 of Real Time with Bill Maher which aired on August 28, 2015.

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Let’s start with Katrina. The showed on the tenth anniversary of Katrina, and there is a lot for a lot of people to be ashamed of there. Starting with George W. Bush who was president of the time and who handled the situation badly before, after, and during. He had the nerve to visit New Orleans this week. Maher quipped, “See, I told you Bush would get there eventually.”   

Ashley Madison and Hypocrisy
People who subscribed to Ashley Madison, the website for married people who want to cheat on their spouses, have been publically shamed because a hacker released their names.  Josh Duggar, one of the 19 Duggar kids, who became a spokesperson for Christian values had two accounts. He was exposed as a hypocrite. He blamed it on porn and went into hiding—I mean rehab—which is what all the celebrities seem to do these days when their misconduct is exposed.

However, here is the biggest reason to be ashamed. If you are a man who subscribed to Ashley Madison you can be ashamed of being a sucker. There were 37 million male subscribers, but only 12,000 women. (Many of the accounts for women were fake accounts.) Maher said, “Horny housewives looking for anonymous stranger sex are like moderate Republicans—they only exist in theory.

All those men who are explaining to their wives how nothing happened are probably telling their wives the truth. There was no one for it to happen with.

Rick Santorum--Interview
The interview was with Rick Santorum, one of the 17 Republican candidates for Republican nomination for president, former U.S. Senator (R, PA), author of Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works, and a co-author – with his wife and daughter – of Bella’sGift: How One Little Girl Transformed Our Family and Inspired a Nation. He was also busy trying to explain Things away. For instance, there are shameful remarks he made during his last campaign for president—the man-on-dog thing (about homosexuals) and the anti-contraception thing. Now he says he wishes he had never said those things. Now he says, “There are a lot of things that are immoral--like Ashley Madison--that should not be illegal.”

Maher brought up climate change and the Pope’s support for it. Santorum denied that too much CO2 in the atmosphere is the cause and besides taking action would cost jobs. Maher pointed out that there were twice as many jobs in solar right now than in coal. [And I will add, the solar industry is still in its infancy.]

Maher said, “I’m an atheist, but I like the Pope better than you [do].” Santorum professes to be a Catholic, but he won’t follow the teachings of the Pope on issues of climate change and social justice since it conflicts with his deeply held political convictions. Maher shamed Santorum over this when he said “Religion is just arrogance masquerading as humility.”

Rick is only at about 1% of the polls. He said that during his last campaign, he was at the back of the pack and ended up in second place. Maher said “If you rise in the polls…” Santorum cut him off, shouting, “When! When!" It’s a shame to see a grown man so desperate. Maher took pity and said his appearance on Real Time would send his numbers soaring.  

Gun violence
End gun violence
Gun violence
We had murders on live TV this week. Maher said that nothing ever changes. One of the panelists, Wendy Davis, former State Senator (D, TX),former candidate for Governor in 2014,and  author of the book Forgetting to Be Afraid: A Memoir, argued for better background checks.

Panelist Robert Costa, National Political Reporter for The Washington Post, former Washington Editor for National Review said the Republicans won’t stand up to the NRA. Maher responded, “Both sides love guns, Democrats just slightly less.”

Hillary Clinton and Women’s Issues
This week Clinton compared the Republican’s views on women to those of the terrorists. Maher agreed that they were “kind of terroristy.”  For instance, threatening to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood or opposing abortion even to save the life of the mother (Huckabee, Walker, and Rubio),

Panelist Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman (R, CA) currently serving his 14th term in office quickly shouted that Planned Parenthood was “selling body parts.” This is the typical Republican strategy—when they can’t defend their position they attempt to one up the opposition by falsely claiming that the other side is doing something even worse.  

Rohrabacher should be ashamed of the way he tried to sensationalize the issue. Maher fought back against the lies. “It is not body parts; it is fetal tissue which has been useful in finding cures and treatment for many diseases. And it is not selling—they only get a couple of hundred dollars to cover shipping and handling.   When Rohrabacher continued to insist that body parts were being sold, Maher really got angry. He shouted, “They are not Frankenstein! “

During the conversation, Ben Carson’s comment was brought up. This week Ben Carson, the Republican candidate who is second in the polls behind Trump, said, “There is no war on women. There is a war on what is inside of women.”  This doesn’t even make sense—what is talking about. What part of my insides is he at war with?  And, this is coming from the brain surgeon, the man who is supposed to be the genius. He may be a retired neurosurgeon, but I think he ought to have his own head examined.   

Mid-show comedy segment    
There are a few magazines published for terrorists Inspire from Al Qaeda and Dabiq from ISIS. What would be the cover blurbs if ISIS did a magazine for women, Un-Cosmopolitan?

--  I was mistaken for a voting booth—5 signs your burka may be too boxy.
--  7 sexy outfits guaranteed to get you beaten with a stick
--  5 moves that will make him forget about those 72 virgins.

The mid-show special guest, Michael Weiss (Senior Editor for The Daily Beast, contributor to ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.
Foreign Policy and CNN, and editor of The Interpreter magazine) is an expert on ISIS. He literally wrote the book on ISIS:

It is such a good book that ISIS stole it and published it themselves.

Weiss pointed out that terrorist groups compete by conducting spectacular assaults. They are putting out videos with high production values.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump, who knows no shame, is always good for a laugh.

Billionaire Donald Trump has yet to spend a dime on advertising. He doesn’t have to—he is covered 24/7 on every news show on TV. Maher said that the networks defend this by saying “He’s at the top of the polls. We have to cover him.” Maher concluded, “Maybe he’s at the top of the polls because they covered him.

At a recent press conference, covered live, of course, an anchor from a news show carried by Univision, the Hispanic network was forced out of the room by Trump’s body guards. Maher joked, “See, he [Trump] does to know how to get rid of Mexicans.”

Maher also commented about the young woman who was brought onto the stage at a recent Trump appearance to pull on his hair to prove that it was his real hair.  Maher claimed that it was real hair all-right—“it was his ass hair, pulled up his back and over his head.” As I visualized that, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing.

For more about Donald Trump, see Donald Trump: "I Love the Bible" and Other Panders 

New Rules -- "Mood Awakening"
Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner
The new “female Viagra” called Addyi, gave Maher an excuse to talk about one of his favorite topics—sex. Maher described it a pill to raise female libido, but it its side-effects are lowing blood pressure and putting you to sleep. He added, “It was invented by Bill Cosby.”

He then railed against a culture that says “your sex urges, as you feel them, need fixing.” This pill is to medicalizing a woman’s lack of interest in sex. He suggest a new pill, Pillify—“the pill to take to make you want to take the pill that makes you do what you don’t want to do.” 

He then urged everyone to stop feeling shame about their sexual desires or their lack of sexual desires.  We have moved to acceptance of homosexuals and transgenders, “so can’t we get the same deal for the other 95% of us. He then showed, am a picture of a stunning Caitlyn Jenner in a low-cut curve-hugging gown, and after commenting about what else besides breasts was under that gown, said, “Sexual freedom. I’ll have what she’s having.”      

Maher’s on a one-week vaycay
It’s a shame there is no new episode of Real Time for Friday September 4th, but at least you get a chance to catch up on any episodes that you might have missed as reruns are airing all week. Enjoy.  

Bill Maher’s Guests August 28, 2015

The interview is with Rick Santorum Republican candidate for president and former U.S. Senator (R, PA) He is the author of the 2014 book Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works, and the co-author – with his wife and daughter – of Bella’s Gift: How One Little Girl Transformed our Family and Inspired a Nation, which came out in February.

The mid-show special guest is Michael Weiss, Senior Editor for The Daily Beast, contributor to Foreign Policy and CNN, and editor of The Interpreter magazine. He reported from war-torn Aleppo, Syria in August 2012, and from Syrian refugee camps in southern Turkey in May 2012. He is the author (with Hassan Hassan) of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.

The Panel:

Wendy Davis: Former State Senator (D, TX) and former candidate for Governor in 2014. She is the author of the book Forgetting to Be Afraid: A Memoir.  

Robert Costa: National Political Reporter for The Washington Post, former Washington Editor for National Review. He covered Donald Trump’s recent rally in Alabama, which he wrote about in his article, Trump’s audacious Southern spectacle is part of his strategy.”

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher: Congressman (R, CA) currently serving his 14th term in office; he is a senior member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, where he chairs the Subcommittee on Europe, Asia and Emerging Threats.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher #361 08/21/15 "It's All Normal"

"It's All Normal"

by Catherine Giordano

Things have gotten so wacky that wacky seems normal now. It’s Friday night, August 21, 2015, 10pm and Bill Maher is on Real Time with Bill Maher, episode 361, explaining the new normal to us.

Ashley Madison is a website, for men who want to cheat on their wives, but are too lazy to do it the normal way--a workplace affair or a pick-up at a bar. The website was hacked and the clientele is revealed. Scuzzy Josh Duggar, the one who molested his sisters, was cheating on his wife and also cheating on the woman with whom he was cheating on his wife. What did Josh Duggar have to say for himself. “I’m the biggest hypocrite ever.”  Bill quipped that Duggar then went on to say,”That’s why tonight I’m announcing my candidacy for the Republican nomination for presidency. ”  

Talking about the Republican nomination for president—Donald Trump is still the “Great orange Hope” of the Republican Party. Trump announced his plan for immigration. It is called “Cinqo Good-byo. He will repeal the 14 amendment, seize the wages of the illegals and then use that money to build a wall and deport 11 million people. Upon hearing this, “the Fox News viewers got their first erection in years.”

Pretty Ladylike: A Memoir by Claire McCaskill
The interview was with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO): (She is the author of a new book about her 30-year career in politics. The book is Plenty Ladylike: A Memoir) She was on the show to talk about the new normal in politics since the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizen’s United case which said money is speech. Rather than repealing the 14th amendment, we may have to add a new amendment to get Big Money out of politics.

Black Lives Matter
McCaskill said women in politics are “tough cookies.”  No one has to be tougher than Hillary Clinton. She gets attacked from the left and the right. Recently she had a conversation with the leaders of the “Black Lives matter” movement. And as Bill Maher says, “It is not all lives matter because that would imply that all lives were equally at risk.”

Hillary told them “I don’t believe you change hearts. You change laws and you change systems.”  Panel member Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) is the first African-American woman to represent Maryland in Congress and is a candidate for the Senate in 2016. She said that Hillary is saying, “We need more than progressive rhetoric, we need progressive policy.”  

Maher said that the movement would fade away without accomplishing anything just like Occupy Wall Street. Edwards pointed out that movements like these do accomplish something—they change the conversation and they push to change the laws.

More Donald Trump
Trump is like that freeway accident that you just can’t look away from. You know you will be horrified and repulsed, but you just have to look. Maher said that Trumps plan is stupid and racist and lettuce would cost $25 a head.

Panel member Charles Cooke who is a writer for the National Review, co-host of the Mad Dogs and Englishmen podcast (with his National Review colleague Kevin Williamson) and author of The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right's Future said that Trump will not be the nominee. “He won’t win a single primary.” I’m not so sure. He seems to be getting more popular every day. Also it won’t matter because now the other candidates are trying to out-trump Trump. Donald Trump is making the Republics say opening what they only used to think privately. 

Panel member Marc Maron is a comedian, host of the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron,"—he recently interviewed President Obama on his podcast—and the star of star of Maron” which recently aired its third season on IFC. He is the author of several books. His most recent book—a humorous memoir-- is Attempting Normal. He called the Trump supporters "The Great American Assholes. Broke, angry assholes.”

Political Attack Ads
Dorset Massachusetts has a six year old mayor—I assume it is a ceremonial post.  Many politicians act like six year olds, but this one actually is six years old. Now his four year old bother is running to be mayor. So Maher did a spoof attack commercial on behalf of the older brother. It concludes, “Don’t let Jimmy do to our town what he did to his diaper.”

Mid-Show Special Guest
The Blue Zones Solution book by Dan Buettner
Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow and author of The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People., wants living to be 100 years old to be the new normal  He outlined his research on longevity in a 2010 Ted Talk, “How to Live to Be 100.” 
He has studied several “blue zones” areas where there are ten times more centenarians than usual. One of those blue zones is Loma Linda, California. They are mostly 7th Day Adventists.

What’s the secret of the blue zones? You already know the answer.  A mostly vegetarian diet (eating meat only 4-5 times a month) that includes a lot of nuts and beans. (A cup of beans a day can add 4-5 years to your life.) Lots of physical activity (natural movement like walking, not going to the gym), low stress, moderate alcohol consumption, and having sexual relations about twice a week. The community respects the wisdom and experience of its older people and they continue to have a meaningful contribution to make throughout their lives. They have “the reason for which you wake up in the morning.”  

Buettner also said religious faith contributed to longevity. (Perhaps because it lowers stress to feel that God is in his heaven and all is right with the world.

New Rules—A Rant about the Sharing Economy
Maher noted that interns who work for billion dollar corporations are unpaid—some are suing to get at least minimum wage. He claimed that what is called the sharing economy is actually closer to a barter economy. AirBnB, Esty, and similar companies are actually taking advantage of their “business partners.” 

Maher said that even Jeb Bush said that it is harder to move up in today’s economy. Maher said that Bush’s solution is to not raise the minimum wage [Huh?]

Maher concluded, “When we say Jeb is smart, we mean smart for a Bush.”

A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety book by Jimmy Carter
Normal? Define normal? I don't think we will ever see normal again.

You know who is normal and until recently looked like he would make it to age 100: Jimmy Carter. He's 90 years old and was recently diagnosed with cancer. He wasn't mentioned on the show, but I am mentioning him here because he is such a class act. He's written several books. A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety is his most recent one. He sums up a life well-lived.  

Bill Maher’s Guests: August 21, 2015  

The interview
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO): She is the author of a new book about her 30-year career in politics. The book is Plenty Ladylike: A Memoir .
Mid-show special guest
Dan Buettner: National Geographic Fellow and author of The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People. He has outlined his research on longevity in a 2010 Ted Talk, “How to Live to Be 100."

Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD): First African-American woman to represent Maryland in Congress and candidate for the Senate in 2016

Marc Maron: Comedian, host of the podcast WTF with Marc Maron—he recently interviewed President Obama on his podcast—and the star of Maron which recently aired its third season on IFC. He is the author of several books. His most recent book—a humorous memoir-- is Attempting Normal.

Charles Cooke: Writer for the National Review, co-host of the Mad Dogs and Englishmen podcast (with his National Review colleague Kevin Williamson) and author of The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right's Future.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Masters of Sex #306 08/16/15 “Two Scents”

Virginia and Dan
Virginia and Dan get closer.
'Like a Moth to a Flame"

by Catherine Giordano

Like moths are drawn to a flame, moths are drawn to a mate by pheromones. Our friends on Showtime’s Masters of Sex are discovering that pheromones work on people also. On episode 306, which aired on August 16, 2015, we see how chemistry has a lot to do with sexual attraction, working on an unconscious level.
All along Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson have assumed that their sexual relationship began purely from their desire to study the science of sex. Now, Bill reveals that he felt desire for Virginia from the moment he first saw her. It’s all part of the mystery of sexual attraction.

Bill and Virginia are forced to return to the lab for their sexual trysts. They can’t meet at Virginia’s house because Virginia’s parents are there for an extended visit. They can’t meet at a hotel because they have become too famous and the hotel clerk recognizes them. Virginia is not happy about meeting in the lab. She prefers the “silk sheet” experience of a hotel—the luxury probably makes her feel like this affair is less tawdry.  
Libby, Bill’s wife, has a little tawdry secret of her own. Her neighbor, Joy, suffered an aneurism and is now unable to speak or move. Libby visits Joy, who lies in bed like a rag doll attentively combing her hair and talking to her. Joy had told Libby that she intended to leave her husband. Joy had rented an apartment was going to live there, but the aneurism struck before she could actually tell her husband. Libby discovers the key to the apartment, and starts to stay there as much as she can. It gives her a feeling of liberation to sit alone with coffee and a cigarette in this bleak apartment. She’s drawn to this escape.
Joy’s husband, Paul, a former football star, coaches a youth football team. Bill asks to be an assistant coach and forces his reluctant son Johnny to sign up for the team. Libby is opposed because she fears her son will get hurt. Johnny sprains his ankle and Libby angrily tells Paul that her son will no longer be allowed to play on the team. Paul berates Libby for this telling her that she is being overprotective. Libby becomes so angry that she tells Paul that Joy was planning to leave him. The leaves Paul devastated. He had no idea that his marriage was not perfect.
Anger often masks sexual tension. Paul goes to Joy’s apartment and finds Libby there. It is like a magnetic force pulls them into a torrid embrace and (so we are led to assume) into sexual union.

Paul has referred a couple to Bill for sexual counseling. The husband is a football player and the wife is a glamorous movie star named Christina. They are there because the Christina is “frigid.” Yet a session in the lab with Ulysses (the dildo) shows that Christina is able to climax in less than a minute.
We learn that Christina’s husband was drawn to her—like a moth to a flame-- because she was an unattainable movie star. However, once he became a famous football star, she was no longer unattainable. He took her to prove to himself that he could. She was a conquest. Christina is devastated to learn that her husband no longer desires her and never loved her.

Virginia and Dan are also playing with fire. Dan is an executive of a company that produces scents for commercial purposes. He wants to get “sex in a bottle.” Their experiments have shown that certain scents, like a man’s sweat, produce physiological signs of sexual arousal in their female subjects, but the women report having no reaction to the scent at all. It’s the pheromones and it happens on an unconscious level.

Dan has been flirting with Virginia to no avail from their first meeting. In this episode, he draws Virginia close to him into a dance. They dance in the lab silently without music while pretending it is all about the science. (This feels like an echo of the start of Virginia and Bill’s sexual activity.) Dan keeps asking Virginia if she feels anything. Virginia keeps saying “No.” But eventually those pheromones kick in and sexual lust presumably ensues. In the next scene, the two are putting their clothes back on.
While the adults are fulfilling their sexual yearnings, the children are trying to fulfill their yearnings for the approval of their parents. Virginia is a gown woman, with children of her own, but she still is fighting to obtain her mother’s approval.
Yet Virginia totally misses her daughter Tessa’s yearning for approval from her. Tessa has had an article published in a teen magazine. She wants to show it to her mother, but when Tessa tries to do so, but Virginia is preoccupied. Tessa walks away and dumps the magazine in the trash.
And little Johnny, despite being too small to be a good player, now wants to play football. It feels it is the only way he might get the approval of his father. The problem is that during football practice, Bill has established a relationship with Dennis, the bully who beat up Johnny in an earlier episode. Dennis is a star quarterback and Bill always approves of a winner. Dennis, who is evidently ignored by his own parents, now sees Bill as a father figure. He comes to Bill’s house and the two of them sit together looking at Bill’s collection of football cards. It’s a tender father-son scene; if only Bill’s actual son were not peering into the room from a hidden spot mournfully watching his father give the attention that he so desperately wants to another boy.
Children seek parental approval like the moth seeks the light. It is the lucky child who gets that approval. Then the children become adults and yearn for love. It’s the lucky adult who gets that love.

Masters of Sex Book
to look inside

Showtime's Masters of Sex Season One dvd
to buy DVD

Human Sexual Response book
to look inside


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Masters of Sex #305 08/09/15 “Matters of Gravity”

Where is the Love?

by Catherine Giordano

Episode 305 of Showtime’s Masters of Sex asks us to look at love--sexual love, marital love, motherly love, fatherly love, sexual love, and more.
Bill Masters has been given a chance to erase the disgrace heaped upon him when he was fired years ago because of his sex work when he is invited to receive an award and speak at a dinner at Washington University. He’s invited because he is famous now. Also, because the man who fired him is the hospital chancellor who fired him now needs his services as a fertility specialist. His daughter-in-law needs to get pregnant in a hurry so his son can receive a draft deferment and avoid Vietnam.

After the speech, Bill takes a question. “Why is there no mention of love in the book?" He gives a magnificent poetic answer. "Love cannot be rendered into columns and graphs as if it were the same as blood pressure, or heart rate.” Alluding to gravity, he says. “Love is not a force exerted by one body onto another; it is the very fabric of those bodies. Love is that which carves the lines and grooves, the curvature of our desire."

Margaret is learning about love. She has learned that love is not about letting someone else’s desires rule over your own. She stands up to her lover Graham who has brought a third person, a young woman into their relationship, for a polyamorous relationship. She walks out on him, but still wonders if being alone is better than being demeaned.

Although Margaret divorced her husband, Barton, when she discovered that he was a homosexual, there is still love between them. It’s hard to und the habits of a 20-year marriage. She worries about him—is he taking care of himself, getting enough to eat, and the like. She also misses him. They had a sexless marriage, not a loveless one. Barton still cares for Margaret. At the end of the episode, we see him making a call to their daughter. He is going to tell her that her parent’s marriage ended not because her mother was unfaithful, but because he was unfaithful to Margaret…with men. Margaret sits alongside him like a loving wife, holding his hand, to give him the courage to make this confession to their daughter.

Virginia’s parents have come for an unexpected visit. There is a lot of tension between Virginia and her mother. Old resentments from Virginia’s childhood surface. Virginia berates her mother for forcing her to enter a child beauty pageant and pushing her to succeed while criticizing her for not being good enough. Her mother remembers it differently. Virginia was the one who entered the beauty pageant on her own. Her mother was only trying to help her succeed so that Virginia would not be disappointed. It seems Virginia’s mother’s version of events is the correct one

Bill has to deal with some issues from his childhood also. A larger older boy has been bullying Bill’s son. Bill finds the boy and gives him a talking to. Bill was bullied as a child, especially from his own father. He knows he must destroy this bully. Bill treats this boy as his father treated him, short of smacking him around, of course. He berates and frightens the boy so badly, it is a wonder the boy does not pee his pants. The boy tells his parents and now there will be consequences for Bill.

Virginia continues to have problems with her daughter Tessa. The girl has figured out that her Virginia is having an affair with Bill and she deliberately leaves clues so that Virginia’s mother can figure it out also. Virginia’s mother is shocked, but sees opportunity here. She gets a moment alone with Virginia and tells her to get Bill to leave his wife and marry her. She urges Virginia to “strike while the iron is hot. Act now because Bill may tire of her. Virginia’s professional success means nothing; she must secure her position in the world with marriage to a successful man.

Where is the love? It is in the very fabric of our lives. Love is that which carves the lines and grooves into all of our relationships.

Masters of Sex Book
to look inside

Human Sexual Response book
to look inside
Showtime's Masters of Sex Season One dvd
to buy DVD



Friday, August 14, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher #360 08 14 15 Nun-Sense and Gravitas

Gravitas by Talib Kweli
Gravitas by Talib Kweli
Nun-sense and Gravitas

by Catherine Giordano

Last week’s show was one of the best ever. I named the review Tsunami of Stupid because Bill Maher coined that phrase to describe the Republican debate. The show was a tsunami of comedy, satire, and fun. Unfortunately, Bill Maher and his guests did not hit that high water mark again on the August 14, 2015 show, episode #360. Nonetheless, the nonsense was skewered and a good time was had by all.

The interview—Sister Helen Prejean
Sister Helen Prejean is a criminal justice activist and death penalty abolitionist, founder of the Ministry Against the Death Penalty, author of
The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions and Dead Man Walking: The Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty that Sparked a National Debate. I expected a passionate discussion on the immorality and injustice of capital punishment. What I got was a tepid conversation. 

Bill Maher wasted the first half of the interview reminiscing about his days as a young boy in Catholic school. The sisters smacked you with a ruler, but could we let that go and get on with current events? The new Pope is making some changes with respect to social justice and tolerance. (Bill remarked that Pope Francis said atheists can go to heaven adding, “I don’t care, but it is a nice gesture.” When Sister Prejean said there was less emphasis on sin with the current pope, Maher said, “Wow it really has changed. I got to give it a try again.”)  

Finally, the conversation moved to the death penalty. Sister Prejean said, “It is about us.” I expected her to talk about how executions coarsen society and make us no better than the murders. From a nun, I expected a discussion of morality.  

Instead she let Bill Maher get away with saying, “Let’s kill the right people. Let’s keep the death penalty for the worst of the worst.” She was on the show to talk about one condemned person in particular, someone scheduled to be executed in September. (I didn’t even catch his name because her presentation was that weak.) This man was in all probability innocent and even if he was guilty, his crime was far from being the worst of the worst. He wasn’t even involved in the actual killing, but was accused of hiring the person who did the killing.  

I think sister Prejean was trying to say that as long as we have executions we will have innocent people executed. But she made the case with such a lack of passion that most people probably never even heard it. What a waste of air time.

Here is the case she should have made.
Thou Shall Not Kill: The Immorality of the Death Penalty and Why Innocent People are on Death Row

Here is a post giving some of Maher’s earlier comments on the subject.
Death Row Follies

The Republicans Maher and the panel had a few things to day about the 17 Republicans running for Congress and the nonsense of the ‘100-car pileup that is the Republican field.’

In the monolog, Maher quipped:

“Donald Trump is offering free helicopter rides to kids at the Iowa State fair. Chris Christie countered by offering to be the bouncy house.” 

“Donald Trump said he has a plan for ISIS: I’d laugh, but he defeated Fox News in the period–gate scandal. Fox took a look at the ratings and then said that maybe Megyn was on the rag.” [In 2012, the first Republican debate had 3.2 million viewers; this time it got 26 million viewers.”]

“Worrying about Castro is like worrying about Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign.” [Neither will have any effect on anything.]

Jeb Bush and War
Jeb Bush can’t seem to get it right on the Iraq War. He’s still defending it. He has to it is his brother’s war. Lawrence Wilkerson, a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell was not in favor of this war then or now. He’s a military man (31 years in the U.S. Army, retired from active service in 1997 as a colonel) so he knows a little something about war. He said, “U.S. policy always was to stay offshore. Boots on the ground was out of the question. You don’t want to start a ground war in Asia.” Not surprisingly, he is for the deal with Iran. 

Women’s Issues

A Gocernor's Story Jennifer Granhom
Gov. Jennifer Granholm, former Governor of Michigan, Deputy Director of the American Jobs Project at UC Berkeley, Co-chair of Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that is supporting Hillary Clinton for President in 2016 and the author of A Governor's Story: The Fight for Jobs and America's Economic Future was the only woman on the show. She spoke up for women. 

Jeb Bush is proud to say that he defunded Planned Parenthood in Florida. Granholm pointed out that he did more than that. He improperly intervened in court cases that concerned abortion. He advocated for the “scarlet letter bill” that would have forced women who continued their pregnancies, but wanted to place the baby up for adoption, to publish their sexual histories in the newspaper. It was about public shaming.

Here is where panelist Doug Heye jumped in, loudly and obnoxiously. Heye was the Deputy Chief of Staff to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA R) and was the RNC Communications Director. On the pretense of defending women he told us how he thought that the term “women’s issues” was insulting to women because women care about all issues, especially the economy and jobs.

So Granholm took him to school over how Republicans voted against the violence against women act, voted against equal pay for women, and are now threatening to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood. She pointed out that the Republicans had little to nothing to say about the middle class during the debate while having plenty to say about abortion.

[P.S. Women who care about the economy and jobs should definitely vote Democratic. Compare the economy and jobs situation now to when GWB was president.]

Mike Huckabee has been on the campaign trail saying that Jay Z treats his wife Beyonce as if he was her pimp. What nonsense! Maher scoffed saying that Beyonce runs her own career. [Talk about being insulting to women he compared Beyonce to a whore and said she had no mind of her own when it came to her career choices!]

The Mysterious People Who Aren’t Men
The talk about women was a great segue into the mid-show comedy bit. Maher read from a spoof children’s book with the above title.

The book taught children that there are “Voters out there who don’t have a penis,” “Women live in houses, not Mitt Romney’s binders,” and “Women exist even when we are not horny.”

Talib Kweli
Talib Kweli is a musician (his latest albums are Fuck the Money and Gravitas) and founder of The Action Support Committee. Some of his songs made it onto Obama’s play list.

Kweli recently did two concerts on the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson. The first concert was to raise money for the protestors and the second was for the family of Michael Brown.

Maher brought up the “Black Lives Matter” protestors who interrupted Bernie Sanders’ speech. He said that Sanders is not a racist. Kweli explained. “Activists are not about being polite. They changed the agenda. They forced the candidates to come up with a platform.”

Donald Trump
Donald Trump is still at the top of the polls, even in Iowa. Everyone said he would never 
The Art of the Deal Donald Trump
play in Iowa. He’s on his third wife and the evangelicals in Iowa won’t like his lack of piety about God and his New York bluster in general. Heye lamented that “the press is ignoring the serious candidates.” What Heye is missing is that Trump is transforming himself into a serious candidate. I watched Trump give his press conference in Iowa and he was good. He looked like a clown in the debate, but he is evidently a quick study.

He’s telling people what they want to hear. “I will make America great again.” Whatever problem America has, he has a “terrific” plan to fix it. . (He never says how he will fix it—just that it will be terrific.)

Personally, I think America is pretty great right now (compared to the GWB years) and the best way to see that America gets to be even more great is to elect a Democratic president with a Democratic Congress. The rest of the world does not think that “America is a joke” as Trump is fond of saying. (That was during the GWB years—now America is admired again.) 

But despite his lack of polish, Trump has modulated his tone and is starting to look like a serious candidate. He still talks nonsense, but he seems to have gained a bit of gravitas. (But will he tweet Putin 26 times at 3am if Putin says something that makes him angry?)

Hillary Clinton

Hard Choices Hillary Clinton
The final New Rules was about Hillary Clinton. Maher reminded us that he gave one million dollars to Obama and said now I have one million dollars …of advice for Hillary. It boiled down to lighten up. Be more like Trump. “Say I’ll be the best.”

I agree that the advice is worth a million dollars. I groan every time I see Hillary give a speech. She is so over-rehearsed. I know she wants to play it safe and not make a gaffe, and maybe she is right. But even her jokes sound so scripted. (I wonder how she will manage at the Correspondent’s Dinner.”)

Maher told her to laugh more, but to lose the cackle that makes her sound like "the wicked witch of the West Wing.”

Maher’s last bit of advice was what he called her “ace in the hole.” “Your husband Bill Clinton has to have an affair. You can get the magic back, but Bill has to humiliate you.” 

The Death of Innocents
Bill Maher’s Guests: Episode 360,  August 14, 2015

Sister Helen Prejean: Criminal justice activist and death penalty abolitionist, founder of the Ministry Against the Death Penalty, author of The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions and Dead Man Walking: The Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty that Sparked a National Debate

Mid-Show guest

Talib Kweli: Activist, musician, founder of The Action Support Committee. His latest albums are Fuck the Money (available on August 17) and Gravitas


Gov. Jennifer Granholm : Former Governor of Michigan, Deputy Director of the American Jobs Project at UC Berkeley, Co-chair of Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that is supporting Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. She is the author of A Governor's Story: The Fight for Jobs and America's Economic Future

Doug Heye: Deputy Chief of Staff to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA R), former RNC Communications Director. He was recently selected as a Fall 2015 fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics.

Lawrence Wilkerson: Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell. He served 31 years in the U.S. Army and retired from active service in 1997 as a colonel.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

2015 Bill Maher #359 08 07 Tsunami of Stupid

Tsunami of Stupid
by Catherine Giordano

Bill Maher premiered the Fall Season of Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday, August 8, 2015. Episode 359 of his popular show was a tsunami of snappy dialogue, hard-hitting satire, and funny comedy segments. It appears that the hiatus did Maher and his staff a world of good—they are back and they are better than ever.

The Debates

Bill Maher said that he timed his return so as to be able to comment on the two Republican debates. He asked the audience, “Did you ever take ecstasy? He followed up with, “This was the opposite of that. It was a tsunami of stupid.” “It was like a Comedy Central roast of the Constitution.” 

Bill Maher was delighted to have Donald Trump to kick around again. Maher has had a feud going with Trump for years. Maher said that Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, sent the word down to “kill this Rosemary’s baby monster in its black crib.” Trump is “nasty, boorish, sexist, ignorant, and smug, but that is what the Republicans like about him.” Maher also said there were five governors, three senators, a brain surgeon, and a ham-colored cartoon character on the stage. [Did Trump spend that afternoon at the beach—he was definitely red-faced at the debate, and that was before he got angry at the questions the moderators asked him.]  

Maher had his best quip of the night when he spoke about Jeb Bush. Speaking about the polls, Maher said that Bush doesn’t mind getting the second most votes. He says that’s how his brother became president.  

Maher said the Republicans were mad at the moderators because they were too tough on the candidates. The answers were the same as ever, “Muslims kill, Mexicans rape, and carry the baby to term.” Maher added, “All they had to sell was fear. Hope-and- change meet pee-in-pants.” He concluded with the comment that the candidates “seemed to be unaware that women can now vote.”  

The Interview—Climate Change
Dire Predictions Climate Change book
The interview was with Michael Mann, Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change. Mann said, “We are still at the point where we can stop it. It is not too late, but there is an urgency.” Maher said, “It is super-settled science. Climate change is real and it is caused by human activity.” He added that people have to stop thinking that “someone will invent a super carbon sucking machine.”   
co-founder of and co-author of

Bill quipped “We should call it a ‘war on coal’. We might get McCain.” [Maher was referring to McCann’s well-known tendency to call for war at the drop of a hat.].  

Maher Mann discussed how the people are ahead of the politicians on this one—70% of Americans favor renewable energy. Clean energy is not an economy-killer—there are twice as many jobs in solar than in coal. 


The conversation about climate change continued with the panel. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA), former Mayor of San Francisco, candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2018, and author of Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government remarked that none of the Republican candidates in the debate mentioned climate change, social-mobility issues, inequality of policing issues—it was extraordinary for what was not asked.”
 On climate change, Steve Schmidt, MSNBC analyst, Vice Chair of Public Affairs at Edelman Public Relations and former Senior Advisor to the McCain-Palin presidential campaign spouted the usual clap-trap nonsense. “Climate change is real, but do you want a trillion dollar cost to our economy? China and India are doing nothing. Maher had to slap him (metaphorically) upside the head. Maher said “We made a deal with China and they are ahead of the deal.” Schmidt continued telling us how you can’t breathe the air in China so how can anyone say they are ahead of us. Maher explained [as I sure Schmidt already knew] that yes they have serious problems in China, but they were ahead of the timetable for reducing emission that was part of the deal.

Mary Matalin, political analyst, television and radio host, former Assistant to President George W. Bush, and Counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney and author of several books--the most recent is Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home (with James Carville), sounded even more like an idiot than even Steven Schmidt. First she started saying something about God. It seemed a non-sequitur or was she implying that we can all just sit back and let God fix it.

Newsom told that California is having record fire and floods due to climate change. Maitland said California needed more reservoirs. Everyone was stunned by the stupidity of that remark. Newsome had to inform her they had plenty of reservoirs and the problem was that they were only one-third full. Maher had to bring it down to a kindergarten level to get Matalin to understand. “It is the water not dropping down.”

Maitland suggested nuclear power and Maher had to remind her of what happened in Japan. Schmidt came back with the same idea that had already been debunked. “We should not make American workers pay for it.” People actually pay these two for their consulting advice!? They are truly a tsunami of stupidity.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

The Trump Bubble?
And then we were back to Trump. It seems like every news show on TV has to devote half of their time to Trump. Maher said that Trump could go all the way He asked us to remember Ronald Reagan. Everyone disparaged his chances--he was an actor, he was divorced, etc.  

Schmidt looked like he had been slapped in the face by the criticism of St. Reagan, and went on to explain why Trump was doing so well. “His message is powerful. ‘Our leaders are incompetent. I will fix it.’ He is saying what millions are screaming at their TVs.” 

Matalin said,” He is competent, confident, and he stands for what we believe in. The federal government is not working.” [Is she a Trump supporter? Earlier she seemed to be a Fiorina supporter.] 

Maher said, “At least Democrats deal with reality. Everything is not Mexico, China, Iran and lazy talkers who use welfare money to buy drugs.” He challenged his Republican guests, “What does it say about your party that the guy who is leading is full of nonsense.” Maher told them that Trump said that he would repeal ObamaCare and replace it with “something terrific.” Newsome pointed out, “Trump is no Reagan“ because the two Republicans on the panel were too busy complimenting Trump to defend Reagan. Maher concluded, “Ronald Reagan was a little better than ‘something terrific.’”  

And now a word from God
Maher asked the panel if they thought it was appropriate for the moderators to ask the candidates about what God was telling them to do. Newsome said it was a “cringe worthy” moment.  

The conversation veered away from the debate into a discussion of atheism. Maher said that atheists and agnostics are the same thing. I’m glad he said that because that is what I have been saying and getting a lot of pushback from some in the non-believer community who prefer to split semantic hairs. He pointed out that 38 million people in the U.S. are “Nones”, the second largest group surpassed only by evangelical Christians.  

[Maher was referring to the 2014 Pew Poll. I wrote about it in Polls Show Christianity Declining, Nones Rising ]

Matalin once again showed her ignorance by saying “Atheism is a belief.” Maher explains, “No it’s not. It’s an absence of belief. Saying atheism is a belief is like saying abstinence is a sex position.”  

Matalin responded by shouting, “But it is! It is! It is!” [Maybe abstinence is her favorite sex position—she was very insistent-- and maybe that is why both she and her husband, James Carville, always seem so emotionally anorexic.] 

Maher said that Dana Perino, former press secretary to President George W. Bush, once said “If they [atheists] don’t like it, they don’t have to live here.” Matalin tried to deny that Perino said it, but when forced to back down, she sanctimoniously replied, “I believe in tolerance—it is the essence of my faith.”  

Finally Schmidt brought the conversation back to the debate. He said, “They [the moderators] should have asked if they knew the difference between Shia, Sunni, and a kangaroo.” Which gave Maher the opportunity to say, “Once again you say these people are utter idiots and they are my people.” [It appears that Schmidt sometimes forgets what team he plays for and gets as exasperated with the tsunami of stupidity as the rest of us.] 

Read more about the "the God question" at the Republican debate here: : "A Word From God"

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
The mid show comedy: Hillary’s Tweets
The mid-show comedy segment was a riff on Trump’s tsunami of angry 3am tweets attacking Megyn Kelly for asking him tough questions [Maher said there were about 30 of these tweets.] 

Maher showed us what Hillary’s tweets would look like if she were an angry fool like Trump is. What if she got on the bluster bandwagon? Here’s a few of them—I picked the most wicked ones. .

Lincoln Chaffee: Zero percent in the polls. Are you a candidate or a great rate on a car loan? 

Carly Fiorina: You come off kind of cold and unlikeable and entitled and that’s coming from me.  

Chipolte: Glad I didn’t tip. If I want to throw my money at Mexicans, I’ll buy coke from Jeb Bush’s kids.” 

New York Times: Crossword Puzzle. 1 across: Kiss. 2 down: My Ass. 

Monica Lewinski: I’m still married. How are you doing?

Mid-show interview: Caitlin Flanagan
Caitlin Flanagan is a journalist, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, and a former staff writer for The New Yorker.The September issue of The Atlantic will feature Flanagan’s new article, “That’s Not Funny: Today’s College Students Can’t Seem to Take a Joke.” She is also the author of To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife and Girl Land.

She was invited on the show to talk about one of Maher’s favorite subjects, political correctness, especially on college campuses. Flanagan’s thesis is that college students know nothing of the world and it is the duty of parents and instructors to teach them. The adults have abdicated their responsibility in this and colleges are like a country club nowadays. The kids perceive themselves as being the victims of a host of micro-aggressions.  

Maher then quoted from a “Bias Free Language Guide.” This reads like a comedy bit, but Maher swears that he is not kidding.

Senior citizens: People of advanced age

Rich: Person of material wealth

Obese: People of size

Tomboy: Gender non-conforming

Homosexual: Same gender loving.

Personally, I prefer the current terms. Advanced age? Say that to me if you want to get smacked upside the head.

New Rules
One of Maher’s New Rules brought us back to the debates. It was captioned "Ruff Crowd". Maher said the debates were like the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. There were two divisions. The big dogs who bark a lot and slobber (Trump and Christie) The small dogs who wear sweaters and prance (Santorum and Graham.)

The final New Rule was a segment called “Floss Hogg.” One of Maher’s hot buttons is animal rights and he was really taking aim at the dentist who shot Cecil the lion. He told him if he wants to kill things to show what a big man he is, he should “Go to Syria and take out Isis.”  

Maher’s theory is that someone like this dentist wants to go on a hunting safari to show everyone that he is rich because in America being filthy rich is the greatest good.” [Trump takes every opportunity to say “I’m very rich” and it appears to be working for him.]
Scott Walker Trophy
Scott Walker Trophy
Maher segued to the Republican nominating process and how the wealthy buy candidates. Maher said, “The rich shouldn’t just get to tell politicians what to do. They should get to hunt them so they can then put the trophy Republican’s head on their wall to go with their trophy kills, trophy car, and trophy wife. Scott Walker’s eyes already look like taxidermy. Chris Christie’s leg would make a lovely umbrella stand.
It was a tsunami of comedy and barbed wit on the August 7th show. I hope Bill Maher can maintain that high performance level throughout the season.

Bill Maher’s Guests:  August 7, 2015
Michael Mann: Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, co-founder of, co-author of Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change

Caitlin Flanagan: Journalist, national correspondent for The Atlantic, former staff writer for The New Yorker The September issue of The Atlantic will feature Flanagan’s new article, “That’s Not Funny: Today’s College Students Can’t Seem to Take a Joke.” She is also the author of To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife and Girl Land

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA): Former Mayor of San Francisco, candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2018. He is the author of Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government

Mary Matalin: Political analyst, television and radio host, former Assistant to President George W. Bush, and Counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney. She is the author of several books--the most recent is Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, TwoDaughters and One Louisiana Home (with James Carville)
Steve Schmidt: MSNBC analyst, Vice Chair of Public Affairs at Edelman Public Relations, former Senior Advisor to the McCain-Palin presidential campaign

Matalin Carville Love and War book