Bill Maher Still Secure in ABC Slot, at Least Now

  Bill Maher Still Secure in ABC Slot, at Least Now

Posted by FoM on October 08, 2001 at 11:17:39 PT
By Jim Rutenberg 
Source: New York Times 

Ask an ABC executive about Bill Maher these days and you will sense palpable discomfort. Call it a case of on-the-edge material going over the edge.Three weeks ago, near the height of the shock over the terrorist attacks, Mr. Maher, host of the irreverent late night talk show "Politically Incorrect," said that the suicide hijackers were arguably fearless in carrying out their mission and that United States policy was cowardly for opting to make war from the air.
People called for his head. The White House used the remarks as an example of why people must "watch what they say." Like a deer caught in the headlights, Mr. Maher seemed stunned by his own misstep. The perpetual cynical smirk of his public persona vanished, to be replaced by a repentant, humble, even melancholy expression. Out, too, went many of his advertisers and a number of his affiliates.But do not expect ABC to cut him loose anytime soon. In the mirrorlike world of public relations, the uproar may have actually extended his time by making it unlikely the network will yank him for mediocre ratings. While that is an option that has been considered from time to time, it might now be seen as buckling under.But if Mr. Maher is expected to be around for at least a while, so is the uneasiness over him inside ABC, which is part of the Walt Disney Company.Mr. Maher has always been an uneasy fit at the network, its acquisition of him a classic case of a mainstream media company seeking a youthful edge by raiding the rising and more permissive world of cable, where Mr. Maher honed his sarcastic wit.In the early 1990's, "Politically Incorrect" was just a little-watched, comic current events program on the Comedy Central cable network.Mr. Maher, its proudly arrogant, wry and scowling host, suffered the foolish comments of his celebrity guests for only as long as he deemed them entertaining. Then he would break in with verbal attacks. Their force carried an outsider's sensibility.Still, he was a man of the times: an ironic, intellectual bad boy who was willing to take on the right and the left in his skewering of conventional wisdom. And the critics, hungering for something new, ate it up. In 1997, ABC stole him away and put his program on after "Nightline" in a bold challenge to David Letterman and Jay Leno.Even before his recent remarks, Mr. Maher had been on shaky ground with his network bosses, whose occasional reconnaissance missions for a replacement in his time slot have been talked about in the television industry for some time. His ratings have only been fair. And he stuck his foot in his mouth publicly before, in ways that had embarrassed the network."They're very worried over there, whither the show," said Jerry Nachman, a former executive producer of "Politically Incorrect" who has been a guest on the program since Sept. 11. "Affiliates are not the bravest consortium in the world, and the great question is, will ABC stand up?"For the time being, it is a near certainty that it will. Several ABC executives said they expected most of the affiliates that had deserted would return when things cooled down. In fact, they said, at least nine of these 17 affiliates will have returned by tonight. And, they said, the program's average audience of 2.8 million is as large as it has been in six months, a clear benefit of the controversy, but also, probably, of the improved ratings for "Nightline."With advertisers nervous about buying time, however, the network's challenge is to take advantage of that growth. Two large advertisers, Sears, Roebuck and FedEx, said they would never return.Even if the program's ratings were sinking, ABC executives said, the network would have no choice but to stick with it. To some, Mr. Maher has become a First Amendment icon — a victim of public intolerance for divergence from its unified mood."We're certainly not going to remove the show from the air," one senior ABC executive said. "It would send the wrong signal. Besides, if you're not going to let people speak their minds, why is this show even on the air?"But some close to Mr. Maher fear that the recent events may have damaged his long- term prospects at ABC.That is because opinion inside the network is divided about Mr. Maher. He is not always an easy man to stand behind. Those close to him say he can be as prickly in person as he is on his program, and though he behaves professionally, he does not go out of his way to get along with network executives — in part because of what they describe as a fanatical devotion to honesty.Mr. Maher, who grew up in River Vale, N.J., and graduated from Cornell with a degree in English, is by all accounts, a news buff. He considers himself a libertarian. And that puts him at odds at times with conservatives, at times with liberals, and at times with executives of Disney, who are said, for example, to be no fans of his criticism of the war against drugs.Disputes with censors and advertising executives are common. "We had intellectual taffy pulls on almost a daily basis," Mr. Nachman said.And, people close to the program said, ABC has often expressed frustration at its relative dearth of A-list celebrities, many of whose publicists are loath to let them appear because Mr. Maher does not promise kid-glove treatment. (Dan Klores, a prominent public relations executive, says he does not always advise an appearance. "I had a client who didn't know what the P.L.O. was," he said. "I told her, `You're not going.' ")In the last year, "Politically Incorrect" was having an increasingly difficult time being noticed. When Mr. Maher did get some attention, it was not in the form he desired. In January, he caused an uproar by comparing retarded children to dogs during a discussion about parenting. In July, he had lashed out at New York.But nothing compares with this, and Mr. Maher — described as having a soft side — is said to have been rocked by it all. There is a sense among his staff and associates that his statements were blown out of proportion and misread to mean that he was criticizing United States soldiers as cowardly when, if anything, he was criticizing the policies of President Bill Clinton. "He said, `I didn't realize so many people were pained by this,' " said Nancy Geller, an executive producer of the program. "That hurts him. He has a heart."Mr. Maher declined to be interviewed. But in an unpublished opinion article, he seems to understand his predicament. " `Losing my timing this late in my career' is a line that came to mind," he writes, "and the song it's from is `Send in the Clowns' — not the starring role I was hoping for."Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Jim RutenbergPublished: Monday, October 8. 2001Copyright: 2001 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Politically Incorrect Of The Free? Maher was Right

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Comment #37 posted by dddd on October 12, 2001 at 00:48:25 PT
yes,,,,it aint pretty
...and from my old bitter point of view,,,,It seems as if PI,has basically,but significantly been successfully tainted by the "correctors of the incorrectness"....take it or leave it,,but that's what it looks like to me.... ..and my old skeptical ass...dddd 
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Comment #36 posted by freedom fighter on October 11, 2001 at 16:53:42 PT
Seemed to me that it was the audience
that censored Bill. Every time someone spoke up about killing the terrorists, the audience clapped and cheered on. I'll bet that Bill got so scared of speakin out lest he get lynched out of the show.ff
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Comment #35 posted by Dan B on October 11, 2001 at 12:42:07 PT
Silent Observer
First, perhaps I should clarify my position. I realize that the verse in Exodus does say "Thou shalt not kill," no if, ands or buts about it. But God (according to the Bible) contradicts himself. I think that is your point, and believe me, I am not one to stand up for organized religion. I just wanted to set the record straight that as one continues to read in what Christians call the "Old Testament" (notice that I am not specifically identifying myself with any particular religion here), one does find several cases of "unless . . ."I agree with your comments, and I support your right to say them. I was not trying to say that you or anyone else is wrong to disagree; I was saying that it is wrong to simply dismiss a way of thinking without making a case for doing so (as markjc did). Your comments are completely justified, and I am glad you said what you said.Actually, I think that if you look at comment #19, you will see that my main point on the matter really does not differ from your own (Your comment: My point, in fact, was that depending on the religion you happen to pick, God can be made to say anything you want.) At least, I hope that is what comes across. I still think, though, that it is okay to bring a religious perspective into the discussion, as long as one doesn't only use one's religion to back up one's claims (the folly in a religiously-based argument is, of course, in dismissing the fact that not everyone believes in the same religion, or even interprets a common religion in the same way). In short, I agree with you, Silent Observer, and I hope you didn't take my comments as an attack on you personally.Dan BP.S. What you said about political candidates is also dead on. Anyone who would suggest that "Bush IS your best bet for any CHANCE at lighter laws for MJ and medical MJ" must be either psychotic or seriously uninformed. Wake up to what is going on around you, idbsne1 (yes, I get it--"I'd B.S. Anyone"--cute). Bush and his cronies are taking the fast track toward completely dismantling what freedoms we have left in this country. Do you really still believe that he has the nation's best interests at heart? Every decision he has made in the past nine months--every one--has been directed at supporting his interests in oil, coddling the religious wrong, or both. He couldn't give two sh*ts about the average American, let alone the common toker.(please pardon the language, albeit censored, FoM)
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Comment #34 posted by Frank S World on October 10, 2001 at 12:17:01 PT
RE: Comment number one
In watching PI the last few nights I have to agree with Robbie. Maher has censored himself, or been censored, perhaps neutered is a better word. The outcry killed the free expression and the controversial topics. He undoubtedly will not be talking about drugs anytime soon.They may as well kill the show, it's already dead. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the show back in the good old days before 9/11. But the show, like everything else, will never be the same. Everybody's remarks are guarded. Last night the discussion was depressing. The laughter and jokes are gone, just a grim-faced shell of a once lively and vibrant show. Just one more indicator of the perils of the Brave New World of post 9/11.
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Comment #33 posted by Silent_Observer on October 10, 2001 at 08:30:51 PT
DanB, dddd et al..
I must say I stand by my remarks.Without getting into a serious religious war here, let me clarify that my remarks referred to the New Testament view of killing - I should have clarified that. To address Dan's comments regarding the "Christian" view of the Old Testament, there are very clear contradictions between the Old and New Testaments - contradictions that Jesus himself focused on ("Ye have heard it said..etc). That is why my remarks focussed, rather, on the wisdom of refraining from quoting what God said. Nobody really knows what God said. My point, in fact, was that depending on the religion you happen to pick, God can be made to say anything you want.Viewed from a purely spiritual perspective, there is a case to be made for not retaliating at all, and letting the aggressor kill; because life itself can never be destroyed. The only entity destroyed is an identification with that particular manifestation of Consciousness, which Itself is never affected.But, I'd rather not get into this line of discussion because, such an argument is essentially non-winnable.However, I will stand by my assertion that idbsne1's comments were essentially ignorant and immature. They were informed by an extremely limited world view and very poorly articulated, to boot.Regarding Bush's commitment to state's rights - I rarely believe what he, or any other Republican or Democrat say any more. Remember how Bush said that we would not be in the "nation building" business? If anybody thinks that we won't be trying to rebuild Afghanistan, I have some real estate in the Everglades to sell you.If state's rights were to sacrosanct, why were patients' records allowed to be confiscated in California? Why didn't Bush intervene?What are we? Stupid?I rarely get worked up, but this thread of indulging igonorant views by people who don't bother to count the number of Presidential candidates is getting to me. 
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Comment #32 posted by dddd on October 10, 2001 at 01:55:11 PT
Dr Dan B....
Harsh,Schmarsh!......You are rarely "harsh",,,and you shouldnt worry about pissing people off so much!.... ............ya asshole!.......dddd
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Comment #31 posted by Dan B on October 10, 2001 at 01:05:31 PT
I Realize I Was Likely Too Harsh
If you were offended by my tone, I apologize for it. Of course, I stand by my arguments, but my tone was far too angry and belittling, and for that I do apologize. It makes no sense to speak of tolerance while maintaining an intolerant tone. Sincerely,Dan B
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Comment #30 posted by dddd on October 10, 2001 at 00:52:59 PT
thank you Markjc
....anyone who agrees with me is OK,in my book............but....I gotta kinda agree with Dan B,,in that you seem to have a certain unexplained bitterness toward the Bible,,and the "sh*t",you suggest is involved........The only way I would use the word "shit",concerning the Bible,,,,is to say that it is "Heavier Than Shit!",,,,,,,I mean ya cant just call it "shit",,...?,,,,,,,what if it turned out to be Right On,,and you neglected to really consider it,,,,and then when you died,,God asked you;"Why did you say the Bible was "shit"??......what would you say?,,,,,,of corse,,,maybe all the 'Bible' people are just idioticly wasting their hopes on a belief that does not exsist,,stupidly grasping at an obscure hope,and faith,,that will eventually prove to be utterly pointless,and upon death ,,all people ceased to exsist,,their spirits turned out to be nothing more than a temporary anomole,and when people die,,they are gone!...All Gone,,,,,,,......
..there was nothing special about anybody...our exsistance was like some twisted,cruel biology experiment, and a Human life,,,was no more significant than the finely ground cow in a Big Mac???.........oh well...once again,,, many words have been used,,,but not much was said.....anyway,,if God's there,,and there's anything to the "bible shit",,,,I hope you dont miss out on a good part of reality......strangely yours....4d 
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Comment #29 posted by Dan B on October 09, 2001 at 23:23:10 PT:
markjc: something to think about
It appears, markjc, that you think it is best to remain ignorant about all matters of religion that don't fit into your narrow world view, particularly when it comes to the Bible. Dismissing people's religions as "nonsense" will get you nowhere. If you want to argue effectively, you must learn to listen to your opposition and present logical arguments that not only support your own viewpoints, but also effectively and logically refute the arguments of your opposition. So far, all you have done is called the Bible a name (sh*t) and dismissed it as nonsense. I sincerely hope that this does not exemplify the full range of your debating skills as all you have done is upset some (for no good reason) and given reason for other thinking people in this forum to dismiss your opinions altogether. While many would argue that we need all the help we can get, I think most would also agree that what you have offered is not helpful at all.I respect your right to disagree with whatever is said here (I have learned much from those who disagree with me in this forum, and I hope to continue doing so), but please give a bit more thought to providing constructive comments that add to our understanding of the issues. Troutmask's comments were constructive because they added something useful to the discussion here. I respect Troutmask a great deal, and my intent was merely to show that there are exceptions, not to attack Troutmask. The others who have requested information or who have commented on the biblical references also have had something constructive to say. But your comments were not constructive; they were designed to tear down, to destroy. Please don't try to destroy the positive atmosphere we have here. Please be tolerant, even when the conversation leads outside the immediate concern, which is that the drug war needs to end.Dan B
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Comment #28 posted by dddd on October 09, 2001 at 17:17:36 PT
I dont know about the Tuinals thing
...but I gotta say that my old friend CongressmanSuet needs no brown-nosing from me to confirm the well stated nature of his previous discourse.....I just have this thing about "suet",,and the imprint in my clouded memory of "suet",,being this animal fat that one one put in a bird feeder in the winter,,.......I remember several years back,,when I asked CongressmanSuet,if he was really a congressman,,,and he answered;"Of course"......dddd
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Comment #27 posted by CongressmanSuet on October 09, 2001 at 17:02:35 PT
So, Bill SOLD out...
 What makes him any different than any other media idiot, dashing for cash? I have watched his show since the HBO days, and have always found it to be truly intellectually stimulating, for the most part, BUT what really makes Bill any different than the other media toadies spewing whatever gets them thru the night? Yes, he WAS outspoken, yes, he WAS speaking his mind, yes, he NEEDS sponsors to make it work. He has been trying to tread a fine line in many ways for many years, and he just crossed that line in a very negative way. Watching his last few weeks of shows makes me want to join dddd in a mega-guviment-induced, we are history, massive POWER BARF! His show last night caused a massive uproar in my bowels! The "great loner" actually suggested we should have a new secret police, "detectives" who will use racial profiling, and any other dirty tactic to ferret out "Suspected" terrorists at airports, etc. This man, whom I once admired greatly, has sunk so low, I mean, I used to watch to hear credible argument about the WoD, etc., now I watch to see how much republican ass he can kiss, and yet still try and maintain a "strong, independant" viewpoint. And, if you havent guessed it by now, I HATE, repeat HATE the moron at the helm, the bumbling gov. from Texas, for Christsake, you know, the one who will risk mas-annihilation to further BIG OILS EMPIRE,the greedy, ignoid who will now get 8 years to work his reign of terror, I think I need a they still even make Tuinals?........
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Comment #26 posted by dddd on October 09, 2001 at 15:43:47 PT
Although I respect you eloquently stated opinion,,,but I have to say,,that your statement,saying ; "..if you are a toker, Bush IS your best bet for any CHANCE at lighter laws for MJ and medical MJ. Straight up.". ...I must respectfully say,that this is a pile of strangely concluded crap!...I dont really understand how you could make such a statement....I appreciate your attempt at explaining your position,but your gonna have to do alot better to bring me around to your way of thinking.....I also live in LA,and to my way of thinking,a Lakers flag,is somewhat equivilent to the US flags on vehicles,,,It is little less than a group of people who have blindly jumped on the bandwagon,in support of their team....I think this country is hoppin' with ignorant,or brainwashed Americans,,whos' knowledge of reality is limited to the information they have aquired from the media showcase,,and for this reason,I find it hard to blame them......."Real" Americans are a rare thing nowdays,but I think you are probably one of them,,in that you are involved in taking a close look at what is going on.I salute you for your outspoken opinions,and I look forward to your further participation here.Your comments are constructive and well stated........Like Greenfox,my opinions may also be slightly clouded with a basic dislike of bush...........Thank you for speaking out....Dont stop......sincerely...dddd
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Comment #25 posted by markjc on October 09, 2001 at 15:09:51 PT:
i agree with you point of view dddd
and enough of the bible sh*t. Its all a bunch of nonsense anyway.
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Comment #24 posted by dddd on October 09, 2001 at 12:27:23 PT
I agree with Robbie
....I've watched PI from day one,and since he was reprimanded by the network/sponsors,,his flavor has changed.It's as if the "incorrect",has somehow been corrected......I my opinion,he has wimped out!..I've been waiting to see some dissenting views,but he has been quite the milqetoast.The network has sucessfully trained him to stay within bounds....He disgusts me by speaking favorably of the shrub,,and it seems to me that his selection of guests,and content of the program,have been carefully policed by the network/corporate censors....I have lost alot of respect for Maher,and the show......Bills' nose appears to be rather brown......dddd
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on October 09, 2001 at 10:21:45 PT
Dan B and everyone
I love this Scripture. I believe when we are in a high state of alert and fearful and we are looking for a definite answers this Scripture sums it up in the sense that the picture is so big that we can't truly figure it out. If this is the end times we will find out. I'm not afraid. If the world gets worse then what kind of existence will we have? I am not a survivalist even though I do what I can to keep us safe. These are strange times and I don't have any answers. I pray for Wisdom.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build up, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace." 
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Comment #22 posted by Dan B on October 09, 2001 at 10:07:50 PT:
I think you are right about the New Testament not preaching any justification for killing people, although there are still examples of God killing people (in Acts, God is said to have killed Ananias and Saphira), and of course there is still the eternal damnation to hellfire and brimstone message--along with prophecies in Revelation that much of the world's population will be killed in the last days. But I can't recall a single New Testament verse that says it is okay to kill anyone for any reason. And I fully understand your argument about listening to "man" (or woman, for that matter). Personally, I believe that anyone who claims to know the truth more than everyone else is automatically suspect. If you tell me to believe as you do, you had better have some strong evidence to support that assertion. It is rather presumptuous to say "my way is the only way."That's it for now.Dan B
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Comment #21 posted by Robbie on October 09, 2001 at 07:11:13 PT

Dan B -- "good book" discussion

I am not up on the Bible, but was something I heard recently correct? That there is no preaching of death in the New Testament? Of any kind? This is what I heard, so its probably incorrect. But if it holds true, it seems like those who wrote the initial testament got it wrong somehow, and that they used Jesus as the centerpiece for an Old Test. amendment or clarification.Dunno why they called it the New Testament. They should have called it "God's Word 2.0" And in retrospect, "God's Word 2.0 (beta 1)" since its changed so much.Going back to idbsne1: what if I believe in god but don't use any of the pre-fab belief systems like Islam, Judaism, or Christianity? Or Hinduism, or Buddhism, or any ism. What if I believe in god on my own stead with my own view on who he/she/it is or what he/she/it represents. See "DOGMA."Also, I believe that the major tenet of all religions is kindness to your neighbor, treat people as you want to be treated, love god, and don't kill anybody. Can't we just morph that sentiment together and get rid of the divisiveness of separate religions?I heard a "down home" preacher on a religious call-in show the other night. He said, and rather firmly "Do not trust in man, do not listen to man, for he is the deceiver, or he is deceived. He may have good intentions or he may have bad intentions, but man is wrong."The very next sentence?"So I say to you, god is all, Jesus is all, trust in god, trust in Jesus. We must wholly accept that Christ is our savior and that we must put all faith in him and in the holy word of god."Ummmm.... You just TOLD me not to listen to you! So I choose the former. I'll trust in man first, because I have to live with man. Maybe I'll catch god on the flip-side, but I can't worry about that now.
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Comment #20 posted by freedom fighter on October 09, 2001 at 00:08:24 PT

Has anyone have seen this movie?
Proof of Life
It stars Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan plus a cast of other familiars...dang good movie... Drug War equals Oil War...Better than the "Traffic"Glad I did not vote Bush or Gore..ff 
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Comment #19 posted by Dan B on October 08, 2001 at 23:35:17 PT

Regarding "What God Said"
Actually, if a Christian is going to quote what God said in what Christians call the "Old Testament," that person must acknowledge that God did, in fact, say "Thou shalt not kill . . . except." You may recall the following:"Do not allow a sorceress to live. Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must be put to death. Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed." Exodus 22:18-20"If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head. 
If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbor--both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death." (plus various other sexual reasons for killing people, including homosexual acts, bestiality, incest, sleeping with a woman and her mother, etc.) Leviticus 20:9-16"A man or woman who is amedium or a spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads." Leviticus 20:27"Say to the Israelites: "If anyone curses hid God, he will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death." Leviticus 24:15-16So, God basically contradicts Himself. On the one hand, do not kill under any circumstances . . . except if someone does something against God's law. God also makes exceptions to "Thou shalt not murder" when he tells the people of Israel to wipe out basically anyone in Canaan (modern day Palestine) who does not simply let Israel come in and take over (for more on this, read Exodus, Joshua and Judges). God also holds a soldier (Jephthah) to his promise that if he is victorious in war, he will sacrifice as a burnt offering the first thing that greets him when he gets home, which turns out to be his only daughter (Judges 11:30-40).Here's another interesting contradiction, this time about revenge:If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him: Fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. As he has injured the other, so he is to be injured. Leviticus 24:19but . . .You have heard that it was said, "Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:38-39Here's the bottom line: virtually every religion has its "thou shalt not kill" rule, and every religion has provided exceptions to that rule. The "Golden Rule" is also universal (do unto others as you would have them do to you). People from many religions have been very adept at twisting their spiritual texts in order to justify killing, and that includes fanatical wings of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. I believe that these justifications are not so much a problem with misinterpretation as they are a problem with selectivity. If one wants to persecute, one can find justification for doing so in almost any religious text, so long as that justification is taken out of the larger context in which it is written.If we are going to quote from the Bible, perhaps Eccelsiastes 3:1-8 says it best:"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build up,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace." Dan B
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Comment #17 posted by MDG on October 08, 2001 at 22:55:39 PT

What Bill HAS to have learned...(take #2) that money is speech. I've heard him argue countless times that it isn't, and that people should be limited to how much they can give of their own hard-earned income. Now, having lost two large sponsors, Bill is curtailing his own speech. Without his sponsors, he can't get out his own points of view, but to limited audiences, like most of us. So, now he's not speaking so much. If one isn't allowed, by law, to spend more than $5/week on gas or bus fare, how are they going to drive to downtown L.A. to show that they aren't self-absorbed, and minister to others? Here is directly where speech is affected by spending limits imposed by law.Not only that, but it even goes to idea of property rights. I earned this money, damn it, and I should be able to give however damn much of it I want, to whomever I want! I know I gave much to help my candidate (thank you, Mr. Browne!).
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on October 08, 2001 at 20:05:32 PT

Welcome lag and thank you. We have very good people here. It is true what you say. I've learned a lot over the years and the one thing I've learned that has helped me is I've learned to engage my brain before my mouth speaks. I wasn't always that way and it got me in a lot of yucky situations. Now I think and I wonder do I really feel like I want to say or is it my emotions getting the best of me. I take a lot of deep breaths sometimes before I speak. I'm learning as we all are. I ask myself am I angry because it is something I'm battling with personally? Asking ourselves questions and really finding out why we are like we are takes a lifetime but it slowly falls together.
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Comment #14 posted by lag on October 08, 2001 at 19:39:05 PT

Bill Maher needs to be heard
Taking Bill off the air because of his daring words(but really because of the loss of sponsorship) would be like removing the emergency broadcast system because there was no funding. Words like his need to be heard, and at least thought upon. Several months ago I read an article that I vehemently did not like. I vowed not to support that columnist ever again. And then I refused to read the articles no matter how intriguing the headline. But recently I had a revelation. I asked myself honestly, lag, why did you stop reading his articles? I had too many reasons, but none were correct. The one that came to the surface immediately is that he said something that I did not like, not that it was wrong, but my feelings were not congruent with his. That is a disturbing concept. I was willing to ignore his ideas, right or wrong, and tune him out...ultimately because I was either too lazy, or too scared by the truth. How are we to understand the world, humanity, or anything if we don't take the time to think about why things piss us off honestly? Actually come to terms with what you don't agree with and come up with reasons why you don't. And then you can go one step beyond and answer why you think the way you do, and see what has influenced you why and how, and whether that is a reasonable view point from a human perspective. All of this requires the utmost personal honesty. But it is essential to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.I am sorry this is so long, but I just want to thank FoM and all those reasonable people that put their thoughts here. I have recently woken up to the world, even before the recent disasters, but the attacks have really created an immediacy with which I must speak. Too much to understand, too little time. And all I can think about is the statement that I heard growing up all the time, "life isn't fair...". And the answer that keeps coming to mind...'it could could be...' And the inevitable followup question, 'How?'Most likely you will be hearing a lot from me, because there is just so much I don't understand, and I need people who are critical thinkers to help me come to terms with both my idealism, and the harsh reality. But I also have a lot of ideas, and I think an intuitive nature.Alrighty...thanks everyone for hearing me out.
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Comment #13 posted by markjc on October 08, 2001 at 18:50:41 PT:

i will never go to war for anybody
or any government. I believe in peace and freedom and my government may provide me with the most freedom in the world, but i am still far from actually being free. NO GOVERNMENT PROVEDES FREEDOM. whatever conflict there is between my government and a foreign entity has nothing to do with me as an individual because i believe i am my own government even though the U.S. claims to claim me. I had no choice where i was born and that i happened to be born in a time period in which the entire world is owned by governments. I will never fight in a war that has been declared for me. 
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Comment #12 posted by Bounce to the Ounce on October 08, 2001 at 18:43:21 PT

My opinion on Bill Maher
I understand free speech, but if Bill Maher says something that the viewers and sponsors dont like, then its his fault alone if his show suffers. I understand what he meant by the "coward" remark, but I feel he wouldve gotten a better response if he wouldnt have said it so close to the events on the 11th. Its about RESPONSIBILITY. In this country, you can say anything you want as long as it doesnt hurt no one. Likewise, people listening to what you have to say are free to respond in a positive or negative way as long as its harmless. If someone like Bill Maher doesnt have the responsibilty to be prepared for the words that came out of his mouth, then he shouldnt have said them in the first place. And this hasnt been the first time Bill has shown irresponsibilty for his words. He has belittled the elderly, women, Christians, the mentally challenged, pro-lifers....heck, anyone outside of his narrow view of a utopian world. And I feel that the comments he made right after the terrorists attacks was the straw that broke the camels back. Sorry Bill, but you have no one to blame but yourself if your show goes under.
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Comment #11 posted by mr greengenes on October 08, 2001 at 18:07:20 PT

mayan, Sorry to burst your bubble,
but it looks like idbsne1 may be right. A quick search on web ferret with the words, Bush States Rights turned up this little gem for your edification.Bush backs states' rights on marijuana 
He opposes medical use but favors local control 
By Susan Feeney / The Dallas Morning News 
WASHINGTON - Gov. George Bush said he backs a state's right to decide whether to allow medical use of marijuana, a position that puts him sharply at odds with Republicans on Capitol Hill. "I believe each state can choose that decision as they so choose," the governor said recently in Seattle in response to a reporter's question. 
Related storys Bush Web site hacked ">> 
Chuck Thomas, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, a medical marijuana lobbying group, praised Mr. Bush as "courageous" and "consistent on states' rights. I would hope he would be an example for Republicans in Congress."
Aides said Mr. Bush does not support legalizing marijuana for medical use. But his position supporting state self-determination opens the door to medical marijuana use in some places. President Clinton and most Republican lawmakers, by contrast, oppose all state medical marijuana legalization laws, saying they could lead to abuse.
But Mr. Clinton - in a move philosophically in tune with Mr. Bush - has said Republicans in Congress went too far in seeking to block the District of Columbia's medical marijuana ballot initiative, which won 69 percent support last year.
The president recently vetoed the district's $4.7 billion budget approved by Congress, in part because of a provision to overturn the medical marijuana law.
"For us, that's an issue of local control," of not "micromanaging local government," said White House spokesman Jake Siewert. The veto was not about the merits of the issue, he said.
Among the Republicans leading the charge against the district's law are GOP House leaders and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Bush supporter and chairwoman of the District of Columbia Appropriations Subcommittee.
The district should not be "a haven for marijuana use, even for medicinal purposes," Ms. Hutchison said on the Senate floor. "I don't think we should take an illegal drug and allow it to be legalized in our capital city."
Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have approved medical marijuana laws, giving the issue prominence in key Western states.
Mr. Bush, campaigning for president in Seattle on Saturday, told reporters he felt certain that such a move was "not going to happen in Texas." The state has no direct referendums or voter initiatives.
Although addressing the states' rights issue, Mr. Bush didn't comment directly on the District of Columbia issue. His position of opposing the medical marijuana but saying states should decide is unique among presidential contenders, Mr. Thomas said.
Staff writer Wayne Slater in Austin contributed to this report.,,aolHave an informative day:#)
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Comment #10 posted by mayan on October 08, 2001 at 17:06:09 PT

Bush is for State's rights? You are obviously misinformed. Just read some of the recent articles here about the Fed's crackdown on medical marijuana. 2 candidates? I can name 6 off the top of my head. Perhaps if people like you would enlighten yourselves of your choices we wouldn't be in this mess to begin with!Back to the article, Bill Maher should keep being Bill Maher. To those who would muffle his voice I say this - He made a politically incorrect statement on his show, "Politically Incorrect". GO FIGURE! If you don't like what he has to say you can change the channel or join the Taliban where your views would blend right in. Political correctness is destroying this country. At least Bill Maher is not a coward & calls it as he sees it!Support Bill Maher!
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Comment #9 posted by Silent_Observer on October 08, 2001 at 14:28:49 PT

idbsne1..I wouldn't
parse Trout Mask's or greenfox's comments too literally.Many of us here are leading with our feelings, so bear with us.Let me correct you on one basic flaw in your thinking ("Although I voted for him..I was not completely for any of the 2 candidates... but get this...if you are a toker, Bush IS your best bet for any CHANCE at lighter laws for MJ and medical MJ..") - you couldn't be further from the truth.There were more than 2 candidates last time I looked - in fact, I voted for one of the others. Can you name who they were? If not, may I suggest that YOU were the uninformed one.Bush was never a better chance for anything other than Draconian public laws. I don't think anybody on this board was surprised to see John Ashcroft take hold of the reigns of power.I think greenfox's comments reflect a dichotomy that all of us experience - that does not necessarily translate into hypocrisy. I would suggest being very careful about quoting what God said. We all know how easy it is to take scriptural passages out of context in any religion. Understand also, that "not being a Christian" does not mean being ignorant of Christian scripture. I daresay that what was implied was that Trout Mask does not subscribe to any school of organized religion. In fact, he is correct. The Commandment is "Thou Shall Not Kill" - not ifs ands or buts.May I also suggest a healthy level of self-absorption on your part ("but if you don't live in LA, it's difficult to understand... the people here are MUCH more self absorbed than any other place on the Planet...Clearly")Oh, really? And you have been to every other place on the Planet?I do agree with you - its a good time to chill; starting with you.  
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Comment #8 posted by Cannabis Dave on October 08, 2001 at 14:26:00 PT

Bush said something simular before...remember?
When Bush was campaigning against Gore, he made comments critical of the way cruise missles were launched from long range to flatten empty terrorist camps. He basically said it was wasting expensive missles, and it made "America" look even worse in the eyes of those who hate us. Despite the restraint and careful planning on his administrations part, they seem to be walking right into the trap which will lead to the nightmare waiting for us over there. I'm afraid of what Bush might do for the sake of "vengence/revenge". One of these days a "suitcase" nuclear bombs are going to be detonated in major cities - it's only a matter of time. Already the Russians have admitted many of their suitcase bombs are unaccounted for - imagine how much money they are worth?! Even without the missing suitcase bombs, the technology to make them is becoming evermore available. The only way to avoid the eventuality of a catastophic terrorist attack, is to solve the problems which breed terrorism in the first place. Unfair imperialistic political practices in other parts of the world have got to cease, while the starvation and disease are attended to. Afghanistan is the poorest country in the world, so it's no wonder the terrosit organizations breed there. Starting with Afghanistan, we've got to help all the poor people of the third world into the 21st century. There is no reason why everybody can't be fed anymore (with the help of hemp), and disease wiped-out. We have the technology to do it, but we need to apply it in the right way, and utilize the cannabis plant for all the valuable uses it has. Using our technology for war only benefits the big energy companies and the military- industrial complex, but that is one of the main reasons Bush may drag us into a war...Hypocracy is in command, so everybody should be VERY worried.
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Comment #7 posted by idbsne1 on October 08, 2001 at 13:47:00 PT

Sorry guys, for this response.. it's just some of the things said are disturbing....First, greenfox... you seem more clouded than anything by your DISLIKE of President Bush...plain and simple. Although I voted for him..I was not completely for any of the 2 candidates... but get this...if you are a toker, Bush IS your best bet for any CHANCE at lighter laws for MJ and medical MJ. Straight up. You would have gotten harsher laws under Gore.. and it seems that Congress (both parties) is together in their support for the War on Drugs, so having a liberal wouldn't have helped.. in fact, it would've been worse, 'cause there wouldn't have been a State's Rights angle.Second... can't you see YOURSELF being a hypocrite???? Big time! You say you wouldn't go to war for ANYTHING, yet you criticize the President for not fighting??? Huh? Hypocracy defined....But then you say you MIGHT if he was leading the troops?!? Confusion...True patriot?? whatever.... Those people fight so that you can talk on the internet..and call the President names... and play Nintendo... and watch Bill that there will never BE soldiers on your lawn to fight...their fighting is NOT JUST to save our lives, but our way of life, which I'm pretty sure EVERY person in America likes. Even the bums. Don't get me wrong.. not all of America's intensions are noble... most of them are economical... but to criticize while BEING a consumer? Again, let's check out the word hypocrite....How 'bout this... fly a flag because you DO understand what it stands for... you don't have to blindly support the GOVERNMENT'S actions, there's NO WAY I do... but DO support the freedoms provided to you by virtue of the flag.TroutMask.. um... if you're not Christian, how do you know what God said??? A little hypocracy there too...and actually God DID say " Thou Shall Not Kill, unless...", at least in our religion... Islam.... We are ONLY allowed to kill under 2 circumstances: 1. to protect yourself. 2. to protect your family and home. I definitely see where your coming from though....most of these people don't think about either (religion or partiotism) in their everyday lives, but then all of a sudden act as if they have. What can you do... it disturbs me, but TOO many people are like that. I am REALLY disturbed that here in LA, I SWEAR, there were more cars with Lakers flags than there are with US flags... this upsets me... but if you don't live in LA, it's difficult to understand... the people here are MUCH more self absorbed than any other place on the Planet...Clearly.I am muslim... I am faithful...I am also a sinner... as EVERY human MAIN philosophy in life (besides my religious beliefs) is to NEVER be a hypocrite...being a hypocrite is lying to other people... as well as YOURSELF. I have found that a good way to avoid hypocracy is to not be judgemental. So I say to you greenfox and TroutMask... there are hypocrites EVERYWHERE and at different lets ALL be less judgemental....
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on October 08, 2001 at 12:56:04 PT

Hi TroutMask,We talked about a flag when the WTO event happened but haven't done anything about one. I love the USA but it's the people I love not the political structure. I have no idea who is to blame for doing this to one country or another but this time it was in our home land and that makes things different. Even peaceful people who don't want war would defend themeselves here on our land if need be in most cases.

When I listened to Bin Laden say what he said yesterday I understood what he meant and that's scary when you think about it. Is that sympathizing with the enemy? Is that against the law? Lord knows. The people that died in the events of 9-11 life's were precious and we will change our opinions about war as time goes by. I am cautious to say how I feel currently about war because I might feel differently tomorrow. Just no absolutes right now I think.
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Comment #5 posted by greenfox on October 08, 2001 at 12:36:44 PT

I am not any organized religion. I, however, believe that killing is wrong. Most religions, except maybe satanism, believes the same.As far as HYPOCRICY, here's Bushy-wushy sending people off to DIE. Do you think HE would die for our country? And you can't say that presidents never did that. George Washington went to war for what he believed in, as did Teddy. Teddy is my fav. president, btw. He took a bullet and continued his speech, recieving no medical attention, until he was done talking. Now, if BUSH was leading the charge then MAAAAAAAAAAAAYBE I would fight. but this man would NEVER DARE step foot out of his mansion to fight- yet everyone supports him! This man is a f*ckup, plain and simple (I'm sorry if I offended anyone who actually voted for him, but..) HE SUCKS! Plain and simple. :) Killing sucks, war sucks, and our drug laws REALLY suck. And, despite all this, I'm supopsed to be PATRIOTIC? I am a TRUE patriot. I refuse to wave a flag, but I STAUNCHLY support what that flag stands for. I refuse to wave it because I won't be like everyone else- waiving a cloth that they don't understand. It's not right. Instead, I will NOT wave a flag but actually STAND UP FOR TRUE FREEDOM- freedom of speech, freedom to drink, fuck, suck, and smoke weed until I pass out. TRUE FREEDOM. FREEDOM TO DO WITH MY BODY AS I PLEASE, (so long as no one else is hurt from my actions). That's my piece.sly in green, foxy in kind.-gf

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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 08, 2001 at 12:34:26 PT

Because of the times we are in Bill Maher and all people that have a public voice must be very careful. Panic or hate crimes can be set off very easily. It never has been legal to yell FIRE in a theatre and now that is important to remember. 

It is possible to support the war and not the President. He doesn't really make the decisions. Advisors do and they tell him what should or shouldn't be done and then the writers write what he should say.
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Comment #3 posted by TroutMask on October 08, 2001 at 12:27:18 PT

I'm with greenfox
I'm with greenfox.God said "Thou shall not kill". He didn't say "Thou shall not kill unless..." But I'm no Christian (nor any other organized religion), and I can see that violence against others may be necessary to stem violence against ourselves. I have mixed feelings about it. But I really get irritated by the patriotic and religious hypocrites I see every day and more so since 9/11.-TM
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Comment #2 posted by greenfox on October 08, 2001 at 12:16:42 PT

I think this is sad because...
In a war where, supposedly, we are "standing up for freedom," it seems we have abandoned our most basic and most important freedom- the freedom of speach. Isn't it ironic that, on a show that is NAMED "politically incorrect", a show EXPECTED to offend and turn heads, we are chastising a man who, in my humble opinion, is RIGHT! :) Now before you all verbally attack me, let me explain: I don't think what the terrorists did was RIGHT. It was horrible, and they should be brought to justice. However, you have to admit, it takes courage to DIE for your cause no matter how screwed up or twisted it might be. Furthermore, in our embrace for freedom, why is it that all these "patriots" flying the american flag are so QUICK to turn on those that critisize the president nowadays? Is it ME or does anyone else notice this? I mean, it IS possible to support a war (which I don't) and NOT support the president. I think that the acts of the terrorists were absolutely HORRIBLE. I also think that the people that died (most of them, anyway, save for a few fat cat rich businessmen,) did not deserve to die. Furthermore, I think that TO PROFIT on these poor dead people is horrible. And as we all know, war is profit(or as Gracie Slick said, "war's good business so give your son but I'd rather have my country die for me..") ANYWAYS....
I oppose violence in all forms. I WILL NOT go to war for any country, for any reason. The only time I would be willing to engage in violence is if my loved ones were IMMEDIATELY threatened. Not off shores, not ten years from now. I mean soldiers on MY LAWN right now with a gun pointed at my 13 ye3ar old sister's head/ ./.... then I would get violent.Anyway, I'm not trying to start arguements, just shed my $.02. :)sly in green, foxy in kind.-gf
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Comment #1 posted by Robbie on October 08, 2001 at 12:08:30 PT

uhhhh boy
I tell ya. I like and dislike Bill Maher. He says some things that I'm 100% behind, and says some things that I'm 100% against. But, in the end, I like his brand of goading that gets different people to talk about their own viewpoints.The night he said his comments, I was watching, and I thought nothing of them, being that they were comments I'd likely expect from Bill Maher. I saw nothing about the comments that suggested he branded our military as cowardly (I have no problem with him saying that politicians are cowards because most of them are.)The next night, when the scheisse was starting to impact the fan blades, he looked at the camera and said to his audience "I thank you for your support. You know I say a lot of things, but that I always stick to my guns."By Friday night, he had completely changed his worldview and he hasn't been the same since. He's going out of his way now to prop-up conservative viewpoints and stick to them. Sure, he'll ask tough questions of some of the guests, but if someone gets out of line with his narrow view of things, he goes after them with a venom.Bill better look out that the people who thought of him as being of a certain fiber over the last eight years has suddenly changed, and that his own cowardice he wears on his lapel like a flag pin.Don't expect him to talk about drugs any time soon. We'll be lucky if he says anything insightful for some time. He hasn't even returned to his stand-up or theme song. What else will he change about himself?
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