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Real Time with Bill Maher


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#1

snaxx

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Posted Feb 11, 2004 @ 4:21 PM

I was sure there used to be a thread for this show, but my searches came up empty, so for anyone whose appetite for political satire on TV isn't sated by the standard bearers at The Daily Show, give Real Time another look.

I've always had reservations about Bill Maher...Politically Incorrect always seemed to degenerate into shrill shouting matches that taint almost all politcally oriented talk shows. I thought ABC's firing him was lame, because it was CYA rather than quality related. Moving to commercial-free, unbleeped HBO was an improvement, but the writing was never really up to par, more bark than bite. But discontent provides fertile ground for intelligent comedians, so now Real Time is relevant again.

Bill still leads with his chin in the opening monologue -- weak, overreaching bits that he follows up with sheepish grins that reveal he knows just how lame the jokes are. But the other scripted bits, like New Rules and Reading the News to George, have real venom and wit. And Bill finally is learning to actually moderate discussions, keeping his guests on point some of the time (but you could start a Seconds-to-Saddam drinking game, waiting for the first bizarre linking of any random issue to Iraq; this week it took 4 minutes to compare Martha Stewart to our favorite deposed dictator).

This week's panelists included a thoroughly scandalized (by Bill's potty mouth)Carol Mosely Braun and Rob Scheider fer crissakes, and I actually watched it twice. He even makes Michael Moore and Andrew Sullivan palatable, though Ann Coulter is still beyond redemption.

Most importantly, he actually uses his faux-libertarian schtick to bring the funny, and not just to pose as hipper-than-thou:

"If everyone was wrong about WMD, somebody has to say "my bad!". For some reason, the two words this president just can't seem to say are sorry and nuclear.Something is terribly wrong when the only person who's been fired over terrorism is me."

And re: Asian Bird Flu..."Mysterious asian diseases don't just come knocking on your door...unless you're Neil Bush."

Edited by snaxx, Feb 14, 2004 @ 11:31 AM.

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#2

tannerbrowndog

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Posted Feb 12, 2004 @ 1:15 AM

Thanks for starting the thread snaxx.

The most curious moment for me this season was when Pompous Asshole (read Ron Silver) decided to topple the campaign of Al Sharpton.

Now, if Al really had a shot at the nomination, maybe Ron would have had a point. But he doesn't have that shot. And Al does bring a lot of good points (as well as as a wonderful sense of humor) to the debates that would otherwise be ignored, so Ron just came off as irrelevant as most of his performances in movies & tv these past 20 years.

What was truly disappointing was how riled Al got by Ron. He should have kept his cool.

I hope this forum keeps on going.
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#3

Groovy Girl

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Posted Feb 12, 2004 @ 6:50 PM

I have really enjoyed Real Time this past season. I think it finally found its niche and it really delivers! I loved this past weeks show, but then I have great respect for CMB and AS. I totally loved Rob Schneider too, who knew he could be intelligent funny AND adorable (apparently everyone other than me!)

Anyone know who's on tomorrow?

ETA: Ron Silver is an ass. I just don't think I can say it enough. I didn't mind angry Al, I think we need people to feel passionate about their principles and defend them passionately against assholes. Of course, "the scream" didn't faze me either, I still voted for Dean.

Edited by Groovy Girl, Feb 12, 2004 @ 6:51 PM.

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#4

davidmello

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Posted Feb 12, 2004 @ 8:29 PM

I've seen the show a few times even since I started subscribing only because I wanted "Angels in America". Anyway, I was surpised by how intelligent Rob Schneider actually was discussing the issues last week. If only he applied it to choosing scripts. Still, I'd like to see him back.
The funniest stuff so far, however, was Maher's "Coby Teith" spoof that started the last two shows.
It's a great show to see, since I miss "Politically Incorrect".
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#5

tannerbrowndog

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Posted Feb 12, 2004 @ 11:54 PM

ETA: Ron Silver is an ass. I just don't think I can say it enough. I didn't mind angry Al, I think we need people to feel passionate about their principles and defend them passionately against assholes. Of course, "the scream" didn't faze me either, I still voted for Dean.


groovygirl: I appreciate your passion. I was a Clark supporter, largely due to his appearance on Real Time last season (are there even seasons anymore? HBO has really changed the television terrain.)

I don't recall seeing Ann Coulter (I have a 4-letter code word for her, but I'm afraid it's too rough&tumble for this crowd) this season, and I don't know how I feel about that. I need somebody to despise and I'm not sure if Total Asshole fits the bill....
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#6

tannerbrowndog

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Posted Feb 12, 2004 @ 11:57 PM

For some reason my last post double-posted. I apologize and will not let that happen again. (Please -- no more warnings! Sorry!)

Edited by tannerbrowndog, Feb 13, 2004 @ 12:03 AM.

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#7

Groovy Girl

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Posted Feb 13, 2004 @ 2:35 PM

tannerbrowndog, I totally respect Clark! I have for several years. The Coulterbeast hasn't been on yet this "season", which probably explains why I have enjoyed it so much. Does your term, by chance, rhyme with punt?

If you go on Fametracker, there is quite the anti-fan club going on in the "Ann Coulter" thread.

On topic, what do you think will be a New Rule this week? I'm guessing GWB's "proof" that he wasn't AWOL during Vietnam.
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#8

snaxx

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Posted Feb 14, 2004 @ 1:27 AM

Wow, do I feel stupid for advocating on this show's behalf. Tonight's hour was pretty frickin' lame.

Among the lowlights-

Another recurrence of the sad inability to get through a show without at least one satellite interview losing audio (seriously, you'd think HBO had just cracked the technology and were beta testing with Philo Farnsworth). At this point, I hope someone is fired, or at least urged to change their major.

I know I complained about shrill shout-fests and other demagoguery, but after the cavernous tedium of enduring a panel that apparently disagrees about nothing except the social relevance of Teatgate, and barely listens to each other or to their moderator, I say bring on the straw men! Instead of a lively debate, this seemed more like a polite dinner conversation where noone wants to step on anyone's toes. On more than one occasion, Bill's question was literally met with blank stares. To be sure, sometimes Bill just likes to hear himself talk...however stultifying they found him, they could at least pretend to be engaged for the sake of us poor viewers. What a snooze.

The only time I felt a twinge was during the segment on Mel Gibson's The Passion; even as I cringed at Jason Alexander going on at great lengths and to little effect about the true nature of Jesus, and Mad Max's balancing of artistic vs. commercial concerns, he did get the best line of the night about Adam Sandler, whose movie opens opposite Mel's, being "another Jew who kills a messiah". Now that's comedy.

Also, I don't have hard evidence, but I swear that lame Dean-joke about the Iraqi politician who loses his election and vows "We're goin' to Basra, and then Mosgul, and then Tikrit!" was done weeks ago by The Daily Show, where Jon's version had the benefit of not only being funnier, but actually topical. Can the first Harold Stassen joke be far behind?

Oh, and Heather Wilson was enjoyable, she managed to defend her president without disgracing herself (which ain't easy, especially these days). Two weeks in a row with a pol who's engaging, forthright, and has some semblence of humor (referring to Jennifer Granholm, NOT Carol Mosely Braun)! It's good to see that John McCain isn't alone in that boat.

Edited by snaxx, Feb 14, 2004 @ 1:33 AM.

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#9

Skategrrl

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Posted Feb 14, 2004 @ 9:53 AM

Wow, do I feel stupid for advocating on this show's behalf. Tonight's hour was pretty frickin' lame.


Agreed. Too bad, because last week's show was quite enjoyable. The guests do make the difference.
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#10

Sharmila

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Posted Feb 15, 2004 @ 3:44 AM

FTers seem to be of the general opinion that if you like Bill Maher, you are a self-loathing feminist, because Bill is a misogynistic asshole.

Or something.

I can't help it -- I think he rocks. Okay, I don't think I'd like him as a person, but I like him as a TV personality. Frankly, I agree with him on just about everything -- from religion to marriage to American politics in general. I like that he doesn't pull punches, takes the piss out of everybody, and is actually a good interviewer. He at least manages to cut through the bullshit and ask questions I'd like to ask politicos.

That being said, I agree the guests play a large part in making the show watchable past the monologue and first few interviews. Most of the time, the celeb guests look like the have no idea what they're talking about. But that's nothing new, I guess.

Real Time feels like a lesser Daily Show, that's longer, meaner, and with more curse words. Both satisfy my needs based on how pissed I am about the news that week. I think Politically Incorrect suffered because of the format, the time length, and the fact that the Mouse was running the show. I'm really glad Bill has found a place on HBO, where they won't fine his ass for saying "fuck." I didn't particularly love the latest show, but like I said, I actually like Bill, so I mainly watch for him.
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#11

maraleia

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Posted Feb 28, 2004 @ 11:51 AM

This show along with the Daily Show is my outlet for laughing about the crazy world we live in. I just love his New Rules and opening monologue. I love when the conservatives get ripped apart during the discussions and Ian McKellan rocks. Christine Todd Whitman needs to wake up and stop defending the Bush administration. I expect more from her since I'm a woman too. Also, I'm very excited about Bill's stand on Gay Marriages. This coming from a man who says marriage isn't his cup of tea. All in all a great way to wrap up the work week.
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#12

elcondor43

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Posted Feb 28, 2004 @ 12:27 PM

Ian McKellan was wonderful last night! And I loved Maher's response to that bs Mr. Kirkpatrick was spewing about "where I'm from, etc." "It's not about you it's about them." *ding-ding-ding* We have a winnah!
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#13

Groovy Girl

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Posted Feb 28, 2004 @ 1:49 PM

Kwame is the mayor of the wonderful city I grew up in and still live near. Sadly, he was the best mayoral choice. But he's an idiot. His mother is/was a US Congreswoman and that's the best she could do? I absolutely hated him last night.

I like Christie Whitman. Like John McCain, her support for Bush seems lukewarm at best. I loved her suggestion that we move to a system where marriage is purely a religious matter and that legal benefits only come from a civil ceremony. That was such a un-Moral Majority thing to say.

That said, I am convinced the RNC has nudie pix of her or something. Why else for the very uneasy support? And WTF was up with the "we couldn't get scientists to agree for THIRTY years so that's why the EPA did nothing" BS? I just wanted to slap her.

And Ian McKellen was superb. I don't think that he made a single mis-step. That the voice of reason had to come from abroad made me cry. Why must collective Americans be so stupid?

Bill's "New Rule" that presidents must be foreign made me laugh. I couldn't agree more. Maybe there's someone from France who wants the job. <grin>

Edited to fix spelling error. I usually have kids to chase after in the background hence the poor spelling.

Edited by Groovy Girl, Feb 28, 2004 @ 10:32 PM.

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#14

arachne

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Posted Feb 28, 2004 @ 5:24 PM

That was a great birthday gift Bill gave Ralph Nader - a cake shaped like a Ford Pinto, with burning candles all over the rear end. And Bill's right: the 70-year-old Nader looks at least 20 years younger.

Watching him talk with Bill, I heard the same sincere, concerned public advocate that I've admired for decades. Shit, Ralph - why do you have to screw everything up by running for President?

Edited by arachne, Feb 28, 2004 @ 10:53 PM.

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#15

DesiQueen

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Posted Mar 1, 2004 @ 2:27 AM

I really enjoyed this episode - lovelovelove Ralphie, and ITA arachne, the cake was awesome! Ian McKellan was great too, and that woman from the Conservative Woman's League (?) was just so unbelievably ridiculous it was hilarious. Homosexuals caused the fall of the Roman empire? wtf?
But as for Whitman, my hatred knows no bounds. Her "ethics" are nonexistant at best. She is another corporate cronie and screwed Anniston, Alabama - the most contaminated place on earth.
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#16

arachne

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Posted Mar 1, 2004 @ 11:50 AM

Homosexuals caused the fall of the Roman empire? wtf?


[slightly OT] From what I have read, the western Roman Empire fell, not due to anyone's
sexuality, but because there was so little to eat. Too many farmers abandoned growing grains and vegetables, in favor of cash crops like grapes and olives. By the fifth century,
many poorer Romans were reduced to eating whatever they could scrounge. Any government that cannot feed its own people, is on very shaky ground. [/slightly OT]

Edited by arachne, Mar 1, 2004 @ 11:52 AM.

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#17

buflesnake

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Posted Mar 1, 2004 @ 12:16 PM

Darn it - and I thought I could add "Fall of an Empire" to my resume.

Back on topic - The Nader carcake was awesome. Did he seem a little dishelved to anyone else?

And I have to say I have a smidge of respect for CTW, after talking about managing Bush's campaign in Jersey and then going against the standard RNC reply to gay marriage, and speaking in favor of a civil union-type thing.
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#18

snaxx

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Posted Mar 13, 2004 @ 2:48 PM

I only caught part of last night's show, but during New Rules Bill gave us, in discussing the Kerry's wife's reluctance to appear with him on the campaign trail, what might be the dirtiest/funniest political one-liners of the year:

"Kerry's wife is the Heinz ketchup lady, after all....that's why he has to smack her on the bottom to make her come."

That's GOLD, people.

ETA: Today I am a Channel Surfer. Hooray!

Edited by snaxx, Mar 13, 2004 @ 2:50 PM.

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#19

Csondra

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Posted Jul 30, 2004 @ 11:25 PM

Just watched the first show of the new season.

I don't even like Michael Moore that much- and I certainly have no love for Drier- but I loved this episode. Why? Two words? Kim Campbell. Four more? Can have my babies. And I'm not even a man. And I completely died at Bill and Michael's begging of Ralph Nader. Heh. I love Ralph, but they're right- now is NOT the time.

The monologue was a little weak, as were the New Rules- but Bill's on the warpath and that makes it worth watching.

Anyway- more thoughts?
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#20

Sticky Wicket

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Posted Jul 30, 2004 @ 11:38 PM

I really missed this show. As much as Michael Moore tends to irritate me, he really got me with the "So would I be a flip-flopper" line. Classic! The Nader begging was great, I almost expected him to announce he was pulling out of the race right there, but alas, a girl can dream.
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#21

Elrhino

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Posted Jul 30, 2004 @ 11:43 PM

I loved the New Rule theme of how embarassing it is that we can't pay attention to our National Conventions. This is something I feel so deeply ashamed of this week. The one opportunity we have to listen to the candidates and the parties in their own words, not 5 second news clips of iterative bulletpoints and filtered through opinions of political pundits and talking heads, and as Bill said we can't find the time to turn off reruns of Celebrity Poker. I felt so defeated this week that I had to resign myself to the fact that for all our bitching and moaning, the American people get the representation they deserve.

I'm even more convinced than ever that Nader has been bought by the Republicans.

And I'm SO GLAD that Maher pointed out the unwarranted vitriol the media uses to discredit anything Al Sharpton says reeks of 21st Century racism. TDS and Jon Stewart made a similar observation. It would be one thing to disprove his points, but they take the approach of "There goes that crazy Negro again. Why do black people always have to shout?"

Edited by Elrhino, Jul 31, 2004 @ 12:21 AM.

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#22

memememe76

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Posted Jul 31, 2004 @ 12:26 AM

Kim Campbell? You mean Kim "I was Prime Minister of Canada for a couple of seconds" Campbell?

Aah! I used to bitch about PI, but I want Bill back on Canadian TV!

I felt so defeated this week that I had to resign myself to the fact that for all our bitching and moaning, the American people get the representation they deserve.


I hope this article makes you feel better.

A total of 24.4 million Americans tuned into the Big Three broadcasters and the three leading cable news networks combined to see Kerry take the podium at Boston's Fleet Center and declare he was ``reporting for duty'' at the climax of the national party meeting, Nielsen said.the delegates on opening night of the convention, Monday. And Sen. Edwards of North Carolina, the vice presidential nominee, averaged 17.9 million viewers for his acceptance speech on Wednesday.

Kerry even managed to generate a bigger overall audience than the estimated 21.8 million who tuned in to the final night of the 2000 Democratic National Convention, when then-Vice President Al Gore was nominated as the party's standard bearer.


Edited by memememe76, Jul 31, 2004 @ 12:31 AM.

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#23

Gorey

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Posted Jul 31, 2004 @ 12:35 AM

It doesn't make me feel better because 24.4 million Americans combined watching a program on all three networks and the cable stations is pathetic. 22 million people regularly tune in to watch CSI every week and that only airs on one station.

Also, there is the fact that they couldn't be bothered to devote more than an hour a night and on Tuesday night they didn't even do that.

That said, I totally forgot this was on tonight so thanks for bumping this thread up. I actually like MM so this will hopefully be good.
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#24

Csondra

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Posted Jul 31, 2004 @ 2:17 AM

Gorey and elrhino- Yeah, what both of you said.

And yes, ex-Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell. I loved what she had to say on the show. (Particularly when she pointed out that if anyone used a God-wants-me-to-be-the-leader-of-this-country approach to get elected in Canada they'd be laughed off. -I'm paraphrasing of course.-)

And I'm glad to hear people standing up for Al Sharpton, even if I don't always agree with him 100%, I think it's disgusting that a lot of the media likes to treat him like 'that crazy black guy.' I hope Bill did manage to get Andre 3000 really riled up (about Sharpton and voting)- and if not I'm hoping Barak Obama managed it (they showed him talking to Andre over the end credits)... Boy, do I love Obama. If I wasn't in a swing state I'd have to vote for him this year, just for the hell of it. Him and Kim Campbell. Love them. Want to go on camping trips with them, even. So smart. Heh.

(Just adding, off topic- ya know, I don't think I'm the most well-read person out there on political matters, but I'm impressed by how little attention some people give what's going on here.. My sister didn't even know who the Vice President is until recently, and she's pretty bright. *sigh* Sorry, off topic, done.)
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#25

Elrhino

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Posted Jul 31, 2004 @ 2:30 AM

Viewership actually WENT DOWN from the 2000 DNC.

Regardless of your position, with all that's happened in the past 4 years ... the election decided by a few hundred votes in Florida, the recounts, 9/11, and a war in Iraq where Americans are still dying on a daily basis ... to think I had this naive notion that Americans might be more energized when we are facing the most critical election of our lifetime .... its saddening beyond words. I would be lying if I said it hasn't crossed my mind that the degree of laziness, gluttony, willfull ignorance and self absorbtion of the American public seems to mark the end of our forefather's "noble experiment".
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#26

sweetsue

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Posted Jul 31, 2004 @ 2:51 AM

Am I crazy or did the Republican congressman admit to being a total hypocrite on the flip-flopping issue? When Michael Moore asked if he would be considered a flip-flopper by the congressman if he changed his stance on campaign finance reform the congressman's reply was that it depended on his perspective.
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#27

Gorey

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Posted Jul 31, 2004 @ 2:59 AM

Yes and I haven't see a look of fear in a man's eyes like that since I saw Bush in F 9/11 when he was trying to defend Bush against the panel.

Also, I loved Barak and Al's convincing Andre to vote.

Edited by Gorey, Jul 31, 2004 @ 3:00 AM.

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#28

Ingresgumball

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Posted Jul 31, 2004 @ 3:16 AM

Elrihino, I am so grateful my folks thought to give me flowers and take me to a nice restaurant the first time I voted. I've hardly ever missed an election since '78. I wish more 18 year olds would get the same treatment - spread the word to parents of teens!
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#29

Apple909

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Posted Jul 31, 2004 @ 3:17 AM

I love this show and I'm so glad it's back. Good timing.

The most interesting part of this show for me? As the camera pulled back at the end, after Maher's (dead-on) tirade about Americans not watching the convention, the seat Rep. Dreier was sitting in? Empty. Guess he didn't like getting picked on by everyone else. Yeah, pick up your ball and go home. That'll show em! Bah. What an asshat.

Edited because posting at 3am = bad grammar.

Edited by Apple909, Jul 31, 2004 @ 2:02 PM.

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#30

memememe76

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Posted Jul 31, 2004 @ 3:20 AM

I'm a bit amazed by the Kim Campbell love. Up in Canada, she's a bit of a joke. I haven't heard much about her since her party lost the 1993 election in total and utter flames. She was a member of the Progressive Conservative party, our "right wing" party at the time.

Maybe the 10+ years have mellowed her out.
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