Flashback Friday-Real Time with Bill Maher (2003-Present)

When it comes to politics, news and television, there is no shortage of programs to choose from.

Real Time with Bill Maher has aired on HBO since 2003. Every week, host Bill Maher welcomes politicians, talking heads, newsmakers, celebrities, and others to discuss that week’s news headlines.

I don’t watch this show often. But when I do, I have a sense of peace. Using humor, Maher and his guests allow the audience to laugh, relax a little bit and not feel so overwhelmed/depressed by the week’s news stories.

I recommend it.

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The Witches Are Coming Book Review

In the past, when men were afraid of women, they accused them of being witches. But times have changed and the witches are coming for their accusers.

The Witches Are Coming is the title of Lindy West‘s new non fiction book. In the book, she examines and breaks down the sometimes painful ways in which anyone who is not a white heterosexual man is still disenfranchised.

I loved this book. While Ms. West does not pull punches, but she does so in a way that is humorous and speaks directly to the reader. I wish there were more books about feminism like this. Ms. West writes in such a manner that gets to the heart of the issues without getting on her soapbox. The book is well written, easily read and completely enjoyable.

I recommend it.

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Rush Limbaugh Did not Deserve the Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is one of the highest honors that any civilian can receive. It is usually reserved for those who have made a difference in the United States for the better.

During the 2020 State of the Union address on Tuesday, radio host Rush Limbaugh was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After decades of being on the air, he is stepping down after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

I wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone. It is a disease that knows no boundaries and takes the lives of millions.

The problem with Mr. Limbaugh receiving this award is that not only is it highly partisan, but it is also undeserved. While he is completely entitled to his beliefs, he is seen by many (myself included) as a right-wing bigot who wants to return America to a world in which Caucasian heterosexual men are in charge.

Back in 2012, he got into a public verbal tussle with Sandra Fluke, a graduate student who was advocating for free contraception while attending Georgetown University. In his usual manner, Mr. Limbaugh called Ms. Fluke all sorts of names and reacted in the usual manner that self-righteous men react when it comes to women’s sexuality.

There has always been and will always be political division in the United States. It is this quality that makes this country diverse and unique. But regardless of such divisions, when a President makes such a statement as giving the Presidential Medal of Freedom to a man like Rush Limbaugh, it a statement that needs no introduction.

Just another reason to get you know who out of office.

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Throwback Thursday-Marriage Boot Camp (2013-Present)

Relationships, especially marriage is not easy. It requires communication, patience and understanding.

Marriage Boot Camp has aired on WEtv since 2013. The premise of the show is as follows: five couples whose marriage is on the rocks move into a house together. The purpose of this temporary move is to determine if their relationship is worth saving. While living in the house, they go through a series of exercises with marriage counselors to determine if they will stay together or call it a day.

In most cases, the decision to end your relationship is complicated, messy, private and emotional. It’s not exactly something that I would flaunt for the whole world to see. That is the essence of this show. In the few moments of this program that I have watched, I have to wonder if the couples are really having issues or are they in it for the money and the fame that goes with being on TV?

Do I recommend it? Absolutely not.

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Thank You, Mitt Romney

Albert Einstein was not just a genius when it came to science. He was a genius of of the human condition. One of his most famous quotes is the following:

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

I can’t think of a better quote to sum up the hideous fact that you know who was acquitted today of both articles of impeachment.

But in spite of the fact that the majority of Republicans continue to fall over themselves to curry favor with you know who, there were a few who stood up for the country and the Constitution.

Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was the only Republican in the Senate to convict the President for abuse of power.

If there was a way to thank him in person, I would. While his fellow Republicans put their careers and their conscious over the voters and the country, Senator Romney did the opposite.

What concerns me is the precedent that the acquittal establishes. Today’s ruling says that the President is above the law. He or she is not beholden to the same legal boundaries as the rest of us. He or she may also sell the office of the President of the United States to the highest bidder, whether they be foreign or domestic.

After today, one thing is clear. We must vote in November. If our Senators are too chicken to get you know who out of office, then we, the voting citizens must do so. This man and those who enable him are a menace to our country. I can only fear what he may do with another four years in office.

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RIP Kirk Douglas

There is nothing like a movie made during the Golden Age of Hollywood. There is just something about the movies that were made back then that feel different than the movies made today.

We lost one of the last icons of the Golden Age of Hollywood today. Kirk Douglas died at the age of 103.

Born to Jewish immigrants from Russia, Douglas grew up poor and did what he had to do to get by.

He was known for playing tough guys. That tough guy persona was not just for the screen. Off screen, while the Hollywood blacklist was destroying lives and careers, Douglas put his name and and his career on the line. He hired blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo to write the screenplay for Oscar nominated film Spartacus.

Though he was raised Jewish, he stepped away from his faith as an adult. In the early 90’s, after he survived a helicopter crash, he returned to the faith.

He is survived by his second wife, his surviving sons and their families.

In Judaism, when we bless someone, one of the blessings is the following:

“May you live to 120.”

He lived to see 103, which is not something to sneeze at. In the words of our mutual ancestors, may his memory be a blessing. Z”l.

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Acquitting You Know Who Could Be the Death Knell of American Democracy

If there is one thing that Americans are known for, it is the pride we have in our democracy. For more than two centuries, it has been a beacon of hope that the voice of the average citizen is heard and respected.

But American democracy is on the decline. The impeachment trial of you know who is set to wrap up this week. For weeks, there have been whispers that he will be acquitted of both charges.

If this happens, I fear that this could be the end of the American democracy. The purpose of separating the Executive Branch, Congress and the Supreme Court is to ensure that governmental power is not exclusively in the hands of one of three branches.

Some argue that censure is the way to go and to let the voters decide in the fall.

If another President (regardless of party) was being impeached under less egregious accusations, I would agree that censuring him or her is the way to go. But given that we have a bully man-child used car salesman as President who believes that he is above the law, censuring him is not enough.

Do you censure a school bully who verbally and physically attacks their classmates? No. You remove them from the school. This President must be removed from office by the Senate. If we don’t, then I fear that it will be the death knell of American democracy.

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Thoughts On the 2020 Super Bowl Controversy

For many viewers, the halftime show during the Super Bowl is the highlight of the evening.

On Sunday, while the majority of viewers were entertained by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, some viewers got their knickers in a twist about the clothing worn by the performers.

I have two very big problems with the people who have problems with the costumes worn by J.Lo and Shakira. Both come down to the double standards that still dog our culture.

When Adam Levine went shirtless during Maroon 5‘s performance last year, there were crickets. Simply because this year’s main performers are female, they are being attacked in the press for presenting a bad image to young girls. This is where the double standard comes in. Women are encouraged (in more ways than one) to show off their bodies. But when they do, they are labelled all sorts of names and accused of corrupting the next generation.

Our world and our country would be much better off if certain people focus on important things. Such as jobs, education, maintaining our planet, etc. Getting your knickers in a twist because of the choice of wardrobe of a performer (especially a female performer) is not important and in the long run, will never be important.

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American Manifesto: Saving Democracy from Villains, Vandals, and Ourselves Book Review

Democracy is not something that is automatically handed to us. It was must be fought for and maintained.

On the Media‘s co-host Bob Garfield‘s new book is entitled American Manifesto: Saving Democracy from Villains, Vandals, and Ourselves. In the book, Garfield examines how the United States has become a fractured country. Looking at the changing mass media, the influence of the internet and identity politics, Garfield not just names the problem, he provides a solution to bring this country back together.

I hate the feeling of being excited about a book and then feeling disappointed. This book is one of many to address the obvious societal and political change in America. I initially picked up the book because On the Media is one of the podcasts that I regularly listen to. The problem with this book is that Garfield gets so wrapped up in his ideas that he loses the reader. I wanted to be inspired by this book, but I was not.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Red, White & Royal Blue Book Review

Stories about true love between commoners and a member of the royal family have been around for centuries. But what happens when both are of the same sex?

Casey McQuiston’s debut novel, Red, White & Royal Blue was released last year.

Alex Claremont-Diaz’s life changed forever when his mother was elected President. A PR rep’s dream come true, he is handsome, charming and the all-American boy. But there is a hitch. Alex does not get along with Prince Henry of England. To prevent what could be a major diplomatic row, plans on both sides of the Atlantic are made to mend fences.

What starts out as a PR stunt turns into a friendship and then something more. As much as Henry and Alex love each other, they both know that this relationship comes with complications. Will true love win the day or will politics and fear break up what could be a modern fairy tale?

I loved this book. It felt very modern and thoroughly fairy tale like at the same time. Though the author relied on the tried and true haters turned to lovers trope, she was able too flesh it out in such a way that it did not feel predictable. It was funny, charming, sexy and a dam good read.

I absolutely recommend it.

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