Those who have followed the body of my work know that I am no fan of campaign ads, which are usually democracy-destroying substitutes for in-depth discussion of matters of substance by those aspiring to public office.
But, every now and then, one comes along that is worth watching because it is both short and hilarious, like this clip of Bill Maher stating why he thinks Alan Grayson (D-FL) should again be in Congress...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: The most anti-environment House of Representatives in U.S. history; PLUS: GNR Special Edition: We thank the Koch Brothers --- yes, the billionaire, dirty oil Koch Brothers --- for proving global warming! No, really!!! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): NE lawmakers could challenge Keystone XL Pipeline route; Greenland ice cheet “could undergo self-amplifying cycle of melting, warming"; Fisker: debunking another GOP fake scandal; MD Court Strikes Down Landlord Protection in Lead Paint Law; Former Keystone Pipeline Lobbyist Hired by Obama; Personal Eco-Concierges Ease Transition to Green; 5-20 million tons of debris from Japan's tsunami moving toward Hawaii; CA's Coachella Workers Live in Grim Conditions; Nigerians seek $1 billion from Shell over oil spills; Appeals court upholds roadless rule protecting vast forest wilderness; California Becomes First State To Adopt Cap-And-Trade Program; Countries catch way more bluefin tuna than they are supposed to; Girls exposed in womb to BPA have risk of behavior problems; Austim diagnoses growing by 10-17% annually; Global ban on exports of toxic waste advances; 40k Dallas-Ft.Worth children under 6 have lead in blood; Meet the Tar Sands PR wizard; Alaska Borough Voters Reject Controversial Pebble Mine ...PLUS: Genetic engineering fails to increase crop yields, but succeeds at increasing 'superweeds' and human pesticide exposure ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Coal is a drag on the economy; Coast Guard said 'NO!', but Arctic drilling a 'GO' anyway; Surprise! Koch Industries lied about profiting from Keystone XL Pipeline; PLUS: Occupy Wall St. protesters rally to save the future with action on clean energy & climate change ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Floods drown Asia's rice bowl; AZ utility sued over Four Corners pollution; Stepping up construction of new power lines; Doctors: NY should weigh health risks of fracking; Salazar: 'Fracking' can be safe and responsible; IEA warns of ballooning world fossil fuel subsidies; Mussels, nutrients damaging Great Lakes; Supreme Court ends Bush-era grazing regulations; Florida's invasive species problem worst in the world; Solar Leaf: while Tea Party slimes energy progress, innovators build the future; Climate change and the end of Australia ...PLUS: Attack of the armadillos?: roving bands of “fairly destructive” armadillos may march on DC thanks to climate change ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Koch Industries did business with Iran, despite trading ban, alleged to have bribed several other countries; Shell Oil bribed Nigerian officials; Republicans' investigation of Solyndra halts military solar program; PLUS: The future is here: Winning clean energy home designs at the Solar Decathlon ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Hansen: Southern US will become almost uninhabitable; Current 'crazy weather' will 'become the norm a decade from now'; Some sea lice with your farmed salmon?; Tuvalu runs out of water; Mapping organized climate deniers; Who's bankrolling the climate-change deniers?; Study: organized climate change denial played crucial role in blocking legislation; They won't pay: shipping industry opposes waterway maintenance; GOP wants more logging In nat'l forests; Salmonella stays on chickens; Grim Prediction: 9 more years of TX drought?; Cleaning up Washington's Hanford Nuclear Site; Fed oil spill regulations lacking: report; Cleanup approved for largest abandoned uranium mine in Navajo Nation ...PLUS: "I, for one, Welcome our New Hairy, Crazy Overlords"...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another Republican global warming non-denier enters the 2012 race; US solar industry now employs more people than the US steel industry; Bad news for the world's oceans, good news for those who like to lie about them; PLUS: Inspiration and dedication from the antidote to cynicism, Van Jones ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Yep: Artificial Meat Made From Poo; US Nuclear Plant Safety Rules Inadequate; Humans 'blissfully unaware' of coming climate crisis; Google invests in home solar; Japan Strains to Fix a Reactor; Flooding Brings Worries Over Two NE Nuclear Plants; Radioactive tritium leaks found at 48 US nuclear sites; US nuke regulators weaken safety rules; Japan Stops Water Treatment at Fukushima After Radiation Spike; 'Ominous Trends' in Atrazine exposure, but no proof; CO tests fracking in surburbia; Supreme court rejects states' global warming lawsuit; Rain-hit China braces for more storms; Gas Pipeline Industry Funds & Shapes Pipeline Safety Studies; Arctic Oil Spill Would Challenge Coast Guard; Ultra-efficient solar cells copy plants' 'quantum biology'; Armadillos Move North; Public Skeptical on Climate Change, Scientists Sure ... PLUS: NOAA Makes It Official: 2011 Among Most Extreme Weather Years in History ...
At the end of the "New Rules" segment on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher last night, Maher called out Republicans for being "neither fiscally conservative nor strong on defense," adding "they have to tell us what exactly it is they're good at."
"How many Muslims does a black guy have to kill in one weekend before crackers climb down off his ass?" Maher asked, before offering a flashing "FACTS" light at the bottom of the screen so Fox "News" viewers would know to keep the sound turned down until it disappeared. He then went on to call out the GOP for, among other things, implementing policies over the past decade that revealed them to be anything but fiscally responsible.
"When Bill Clinton left office in 2001," Maher said, "the Congressional Budget Office predicted that by the end of the decade, we would have paid off the deficit and have a 2 trillion dollar surplus. Instead, we have a 10 trillion dollar public debt, and the difference in those two numbers is mostly because the Republicans put tax cuts for the rich, free drugs for the elderly, and two wars on the layaway plan and then bailed on the check."
Maher then criticized George W. Bush's failure to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, after his admission that he "didn't spend that much time on Osama, [and] that he was no longer concerned about him, just as he wasn't before 9/11 when he blew off that mysterious, inscrutable memo entitled 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the U.S.'"
"Why focus on the terrorists who reduced Wall Street to rubble, when you can help Wall Street reduce the whole country to rubble?" the satirist asked rhetorically.
Near the end of his "New Rule," after eviscerating Republicans such as Bush for his "War on Terror" strategy, and Sen. John McCain for being "naive" in his criticism of Obama's promise to focus on bin Laden during the 2008 Presidential election, Maher went on to declare President Obama "one efficient, steely-nerved, multitasking, black ninja gangsta President." WATCH...
Some fine bloggery from RAW STORY today. First, Diane Sweet highlights Dana Gould's must-watch "WTF" moment on health care reform from last night's Real Times with Bill Maher on HBO:
Gould's package includes a visit to a recent health fair at Staples Center in L.A. where folks lined up around the block for free dental care, glasses, blood pressure checks, mammograms, vital immunizations for children, and other medical procedures not usually available to them, because they don't have health coverage.
Stephen C. Webster notes coverage of that event by another outlet which additionally notes some stark statistics comparing the UK's national health system to the system in the U.S. where health spending is twice that of the UK's (as a percentage of the GDP), more than twice-over per person, and yet, the U.S. life-expectancy is shorter, infant mortality higher, and there are more physicians per capita in the UK.
Finally, Webster also features a video of a town hall forum featuring Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA) who is forced to inform a wingnut: "I've got facts on my side, you've got Glenn Beck on your side."
(Of course, Beck wasn't always an opponent of health care reform. In fact, he was in favor of it before he was against it --- after arriving at Fox "News" --- as Jon Stewart reminded us earlier this week.)
That, and one other excellent point is made about the "Constitutionality" of Congress providing for the general welfare. Just like it says in the, um, Constitution. Go watch it...
So the DailyKos' Markos Moulitsas is scheduled to be on Bill Maher's Real Time tonight (which will be back on live again on HBO this evening).
Good. Hopefully Maher will push Kos hard to concede that President Barack Obama is not Progressive enough, is not bringing the change he'd promised, is failing to bring the accountability for the previous administration's blatant violations of the Rule of Law and the Constitution as the Democratic base and the majority of Americans had come to expect that he would.
If Maher presses Kos specifically, hard and loudly, on these points --- and he will have to --- I'd suspect Kos will agree with him. If he does, and makes such direct criticism of Obama heard in no uncertain terms, I suspect that might even catch Obama's attention, and further force him to ponder his current untenable stance on these matters and perhaps encourage him to begin to push back against the Rahm Emmanuels in the administration who are urging him down the easy "Clinton middle" instead
If anybody is in direct touch with Maher, or Kos, --- or even Obama --- please bring this opportunity to their attention. It starts with Maher. And, if anybody can do it, he can. It'd be a shame to see such an opportunity wasted.
UPDATE 7/18/09: Opportunity missed. Maher didn't push Obama or Kos. Kos didn't use the opportunity to push for more progressivism or accountability. Too bad. Maher's closing "New Rules" monologue was awesome, however. I'll try to get that posted here soon if possible.
In last week's "New Rules" segment on HBO's Real Time, Bill Maher blasted President Obama for "not getting the job done," adding "this is not what I voted for." He had been critical of Obama's lack of fight for health care reform, and "nibbling" that's leaving insurance companies "still running the show," bailed out banks "laughing at us about how easy it was to get back to 'business as usual,'" and scientists' vital warnings about serious climate change being largely ignored.
We ran that video last week, and found it was linked to by an enormous number of rightwing websites, using the opportunity to suggest that Maher now agreed with them about Obama.
This week (video above-right) Maher clarified the record. He first noted: "Last week in this space, I criticized President Obama for not fighting corporate influence enough, and it made some Liberals very angry. My phone rang off the hook." But he then removed any doubt about whether he was actually "in league" with those on the Right.
"As far as you folks on the Right that think that we're somehow in league --- we're not in league! I was criticizing Obama for not being hard enough on the corporate douche bags you live to defend. I don't wanna be on your team. Pick another kid."
"So I stand by my words," Maher said, before launching into a no-holds barred attack on the Democrats and Obama for their failings, yet again. "There is another side to the story. And that is, that every time Obama tries to take on a Progressive cause, there's a major political party standing in his way --- the Democrats."
"We don't have a Left and a Right party in this country anymore. We have a center-Right party and a crazy party. And over the last thirty-odd years, Democrats have moved to the Right, and the Right has moved into a mental hospital."
He went on to criticize Democrats for becoming the party of "hedge fund managers, credit card companies, banks, defense contractors, big agriculture and the pharmaceutical lobby [who] sit across the aisle from a small group of religious lunatics, flat-earthers, and Civil War re-enacters...who mostly communicate by AM radio and call themselves the Republicans."
The major concluding thesis in his scathing criticism: "Bottom line, Democrats are the new Republicans"
Diane Sweet of RAW STORY observed in her coverage: "If Maher had finished by declaring his candidacy for public office, by the sound of the applause in response to his monologue, he would have left the studio Friday evening with an audience full of supporters."
If you're unable to watch the video (above right), a text-transcript of the key quotes from this week's must-see monologue follow below. As with last week's, we find ourselves hard-pressed to disagree with a word of it...
While I couldn't care less about Bill Maher's 'Obama being on TV too much' schtick here, as seen on last night's Real Time on HBO, his scathing criticism of Obama which follows it is dead on the money.
Sorry folks, but this President is not fighting for real health care reform. It's nibbling that leaves insurance companies still running the show. And the banks, the banks that brought us to financial ruin and then got bailout money, are laughing at us about how easy it was to get back to 'business as usual.' And scientists keep saying that if we want to keep living, you know, on Earth, it's kind of essential we reduce carbon dioxide by 40% in the next ten years. Obama's bill calls for 4%.
This is not getting the job done, and this is not what I voted for.
Maher continues by arguing that "if you can't shove some real reform down [Republican] throats now, then when?" before adding: "I never thought I'd say this, but what he needs in his personality is a little George Bush. He needs to stop worrying about being loved, and bring out that smug, insufferable swagger that says, 'Suck on it, America!'"
"I'm glad Obama is President," Maher concludes, "but the 'Audicity of Hope' part is over. Right now, I'm hoping for a little more audacity..."
UPDATE 6/20/09: Maher follows up this monologue with another, equally as scathing, the following week. Details and video here...
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Video of this week's scathing monologue is above right, the complete text transcript follows below...
After Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) discusses the bailout as if it's something "they" are doing (as opposed to her, a member of the U.S. Congress) Ashton Kutcher called her on it on Friday's HBO's Real Time w/ Bill Maher, before going on to make a very significant point about the insane way this economic "bailout" is being carried out.
"With all due respect, you're in a position to do something very significant about it. We're all in a position to do something very significant about it," he tells the Congresswoman, before the actor/producer of Punk'd goes on to declare, deadly seriously, in reply to Maher: "They're punking us right now!" (appx. 2 mins)...
I'll tell ya, I was really impressed with Kutcher every time he opened his mouth on the show last Friday. I hope he keeps talking. Clearly, he's been paying very close attention to what's really going on out here. And, to that end, we'll have another clip of him from the same show later today, which offers some pretty good evidence that he must be a BRAD BLOG reader. Stay tuned...
On tonight's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the host had to throw out the first of the 9/11 hecklers himself. Things went downhill from there...
Members of the "9/11 Truth Movement" have been a bit angry with Maher since he suggested they needed to be medicated in a "New Rules" segment in September. That video is here.
Tonight, Maher got a bit angry in return as audience members repeatedly interrupted the panel discussion with Maher, MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Rep. Shiela Jackson Lee (D-TX), and LA Times columnist Joel Stein.
After the last of the hecklers --- who ground the show to a halt (of sorts), for a few minutes --- is removed from the studio audience, Maher says that folks from the movement have been holding protests outside of his studio ever since his comments last month. Tonight, a few of 'em got tickets to the show.
While things got a bit rough, and Maher called for an "ass kicking," nobody was tased, bro...at least to our knowledge.
A slightly edited (for time) Jay Leno interview of Bill Maher (approximately 10 minutes) follows a very political and oftentimes funny Leno monologue (5 minutes). Subjects covered by Leno include Senator Vitter's DC Madam problems, Condi Rice and Dick Cheney golfing, Bill's backing of Hillary for president, Scooter Libby, and Al Gore. Meanwhile, Maher worries that Democrats might blow the 2008 election by nominating Hillary. And while Maher claims to never have endorsed a candidate, he calls Edwards/Obama a "no-lose ticket" and a "winning ticket."