Bill Maher returns to Dallas for January concert

Real Time with Bill MaherThe last time I saw Bill Maher perform live was at the Winspear Opera House more than five years ago. “Your new theater isn’t gonna be clean for long,” he joked, before letting loose on dumbass politicians, especially Sarah Palin. (My review of that show, where I quoted his epithets against Palin and called him — favorably — “the most dangerous person in comedy” — galvanized the right wing … and send web traffic for my piece sky high.) I’m an unapologetic devotee of his HBO series Real Time, because even when I don’t agree with him, he makes audiences think more than any other comedian on the planet.

So to say I am excited — nay, elated — to see that he will return for a live show is muted only by the fact that it won’t happen until Jan. 22, 2017 — well past the current election cycle. On the other hand, it will occur immediate after the inauguration of the next president (whoever she may be), so you know he’ll be primed for politics.

This time he won’t be performing in the 2,200-seat Winspear, but the 3,700-seat Music Hall at Fair Park. That’s a huge venue for a comedian, but even Red State Texas knows the liberals will turn out for it. So get your tickets sooner rather than later — they go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. Here’s the link. And I’ll see you there.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Trump celebrates Cinco de Mayo

Here he is ladies and gentlemen, the presumptive GOP nominee for president of the United States, Donald Trump. Aren’t we all just so proud?!

(But seriously, after the party nominated Sarah Palin for VP, are we surprised that it’s come to this?)

Screen shot 2016-05-05 at 3.16.58 PM

—  Tammye Nash

Thought of the day

If Sarah Palin were any stupider, she’d be Michele Bachmann.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

New Mexico: We won’t let the Rio Grande River flow into Texas anymore

rio-grandeSANTA FE — No water for you. That’s the message the state of New Mexico delivered to Texas in a statement Friday, saying it will no longer allow the Rio Grande River to continue its course into the Lone Star State.

“We were just sitting around, wishing we had something to do when we came up with this idea,” said New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. “We’ve never liked Texans anyway, so we always think it’s fun to come up with ways to tick them off. They come over here to our ski resorts, flashing their big money and ordering us around. Well, we’ll see how they like this.”

Engineers for the state say they will change the river’s course, diverting it to California instead. Why California?

“They’ve been really good to us, what with them making movies here and all,” Martinez said. “We thought this would be a nice way to say ‘thanks for your business.’”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry appeared perplexed when aides told him of New Mexico’s plans.

“Isn’t that a federal issue?” Perry asked. “New Mexico is a foreign country, isn’t it? That’s where all those illegals are coming from.”

After his staff schooled the governor on basic geography and history, Perry reportedly slammed his fist on the table and screamed, “Dagnabit.”

Without water from the Rio Grande, Texas would suffer severe economic, political and social hardships, officials say. The river supplies water to dozens of Texas cities, irrigates millions of acres and forms the border with Mexico.

“Not like it does us any good,” weighed in Sarah Palin, who drove her bus into Austin to console Perry. “Those Mexicans just traipse across the border like it’s not even there.”

Palin took a few days off from her “No Ambition” tour to assist Perry in devising a plan to combat New Mexico’s actions, telling Perry she was “locked and loaded.”

“We’re not gonna put up with this from those people,” Perry said. “Sarah told me I should move Texas National Guard troops to the New Mexico border to show ‘em we’re ready to march into their capital at Mexico City.”

At that point, Palin whispered into Perry’s ear.

“Oh, my bad,” Perry said. “I mean their capital at El Paso.”

—  Steve Ramos

Sarah Palin blames gays for ‘dishes running away with spoons’

Editor’s Note: The following article contains satire. Proceed with caution.



WAL-MART PARKING LOT — Sarah Palin let loose a barrage of vitriol Tuesday against same-sex marriage proponents, accusing them of unleashing a wave of immoral behavior that has affected “the very dishes we eat on and the spoons our children use to to eat their cereal.”

The former vice presidential candidate and ex-governor of Alaska waved a book of nursery rhymes at the three people who had gathered to hear her, two of whom were simply collecting shopping carts in the area as part of their jobs.

“This is what it’s come to,” Palin shouted. “All those people who said same-sex marriages wouldn’t affect America’s moral code have this to answer to.”

Wiping her mouth of spittle, Palin opened the book and began reading with emphasis, glancing back and forth from her audience to the material with what appeared to be wild eyes.

“Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed to see such a sport, and the dish ran away with the spoon.”

Palin removed her glasses, wiped them dramatically and then pointed them at the audience which had grown to four. An elderly man who couldn’t hear well thought Palin said Fiddle Faddle and erroneously believed she was giving away samples of the caramel popcorn treat. He walked away in disgust when he realized his error.

“First of all we have this wording of ‘diddle diddle.” Palin said. “Now if that’s not just plain nasty talk, I don’t know what is. They’re not fooling me. I know what ‘diddle diddle’ means, and so does Bristol. But that’s not the worst of it. No, sir.”

At that point Palin was forced to pause until a Wal-Mart employee finished her announcement of the sale of jumbo weenies and Bimbo bread.

“You’d think that was bad enough,” Pain continued when the announcement ended. “But I want you to realize just how low this country has come, and it’s all because of that same-sex marriage band of heathens. Because of them, now we have dishes running away with spoons!”

Palin slammed the book of nursery rhymes against her thigh, and after it quit jiggling, which was a full three minutes, she unleashed a stream of invectives against the Democrats, the media, gays, Hollywood and Judy Garland.

Judy Garland?

“She’s their siren,” Palin said, referring to the devotion gay men reportedly have for the entertainer. “It’s bad enough that now men can marry men and women can marry women, but it’s come to this. Our dishes are now running away with our spoons.”

Palin suggested everyone immediately remove their dishes from close proximity to their spoons, lest the porcelain libertines be tempted to take to the hills or wherever it is dishes and spoons go to engage in illicit behavior.

“Probably to Arkansas,” Palin said. “After all, we all know what kind of immoral people that state produces. I can just imagine what all was going on in the china cabinet during the Clinton administration.”

Palin warned her audience of the dangers of not being vigilant in guarding their flatware.

“Don’t take your eyes off your spoons for one second,” Palin warned. “The minute you turn your back, those dirty dishes will run off with them and do god knows what to them.”

Palin said such behavior was unheard of before the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in several states. She blames those actions for the “collapse of America’s morality.”

“We used to be a god-fearing country where girls waited until they were 15 to have sex like my Bristol did,” Palin said. “Now you can’t even go into your own kitchen because you’re liable to come up on an orgy with Mikasa china and Rogers silverplate. I always knew I couldn’t trust those Japanese dishes, and you shouldn’t, either. They’ve always looked shifty to me.”

Palin said she was debating whether to enter the presidential race, but with this development she sees it is now her duty to run.

“If those homosexuals think I’m going to stand by and watch them bring this country down, they got another think coming,” she said. “I’m announcing my candidacy for president of the United States. And, by god, I’m not diddle diddling around, either.”

At that point, a Wal-Mart employee cut short Pailn’s speech.

“I’m sorry, but I’ll have to take that milk crate you’re standing on,” he said. “Oh, and did you say you’re giving away samples of Fiddle Faddle?”

Steve Ramos

—  Steve Ramos

Bill Maher gays it up (even more than usual) on HBO’s ‘Real Time’ this Friday

It’s no secret I think Bill Maher is a dangerous (in a good way) comedian, and love that he says what a lot of people feel uncomfortable giving words to (like on particular word he called Sarah Palin at the Winspear earlier this year). He’s proven over and over what a great gay ally he is, and he does so again this week with a roundtable lineup that includes openly gay newsfolk Rachel Maddow and Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan, of course, is famously conservative, but he’s also intellectual honest and very pro-gay. Should be a good discussion.

The new episode airs live on Friday at 9 p.m. on HBO, with replays all week (including one at 10 p.m.).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Fed Up!’ may come back to haunt Perry

Gay marriage among issues on which he’s backed away from book

WILL WEISSERT | Associated Press

AUSTIN — Maybe Rick Perry’s not so Fed Up! after all.

Just nine months ago, the Texas governor released a rhetorical bomb-throwing book under that title. He dismissed Social Security as a New Deal relic that smacked of socialism. He said states’ rights trump all else. He suggested that the Supreme Court’s nine unelected “oligarchs in robes” could have their rulings overturned by two-thirds votes in both houses of Congress.

Now that the Republican is running for president, his campaign has begun distancing itself from some of the candidate’s own words on issues such as Social Security and states’ rights.

Pulling back won’t be easy because Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington is anything but the nuanced list of general positions that fills the pages of most presidential candidates’ books.

Politicians “typically don’t take strong positions. They are largely biographical and usually not specific at all,” said Adam Bellow, editorial director of Broadside Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, who edited Sarah Palin’s two books. “It is unusual,” Bellow said of Fed Up!, “but we are in an unusual moment.”

Perry, who’s shot to the top of many public opinion polls among the GOP contenders, hasn’t shied away from bashing Social Security. Last month in Iowa, he said the program “is a Ponzi scheme for these young people.” Later, he told reporters, “I haven’t backed off anything in my book. So read the book again and get it right.”

Campaign spokesman Mark Miner said “no one can argue that Social Security isn’t broken.”

“The goal was to put these issues on the table and ensure they’re addressed,” Miner said.

But, in his book, Perry goes well beyond criticizing the program’s financing problems and vilifies the entire concept as a failed social experiment.

“Like a bad disease,” he wrote, New Deal-era initiatives have spread. “By far the best example of this is Social Security.” The program “is something we have been forced to accept for more than 70 years now.”

Already, Perry communications director Ray Sullivan was reported as saying that the book is not meant to reflect Perry’s current views on Social Security — even though Fed Up was published just last year.

While skewering the program might help Perry with tea party supporters, it could cost him with elderly voters in Florida and other important states were he to win the nomination, said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell.

“He definitely needs to cut back on the volatile rhetoric and couch his words more carefully or they can come back to haunt him,” O’Connell said.

Polling by the Pew Research Center in June found that 87 percent of Americans see Social Security as good for the country. “The views of the public are, it’s overwhelmingly positive,” said Carroll Doherty, the Pew Research Center’s associate director.

Perry’s GOP rivals are expected to use the book against him, emphasizing the idea that he might be too extreme for independent voters.

“This year, Republicans believe that losing the election means losing the country,” said Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist who has worked for Perry opponents but is now unaligned.

“Any candidate who displays general election weakness, because his radical views scared seniors, independents, or soccer moms, would be disqualified in the GOP nomination process. A vote for such a candidate in a primary would be seen as a vote for Obama in the general.”

Already, Perry has pulled back from his unequivocal position on states’ rights.

In Fed Up! he writes, “If you don’t support the death penalty and citizens packing a pistol, don’t come to Texas. If you don’t like medicinal marijuana and gay marriage, don’t move to California.” Elaborating in July about New York’s decision to allow same-sex marriage, he said, “that’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me.”

Perry has since clarified that he’s against gay marriage anywhere, and last month signed a pledge that, if elected, he would back a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, which would preclude a state’s choice.

He devotes an entire chapter to lambasting the Supreme Court, anticipating that the justices one day issue a ruling forcing nationwide gay marriage on the country. As a check on judicial power, he proposes allowing Congress to override the high court with a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate.

“While ideas like that may sound very cogent to Perry, he may have a real problem explaining them,” GOP strategist O’Connell said.

The governor has long known his book could be problematic in a national campaign. As the polls closed on election day 2010, giving Perry his third full term as governor, he told The Associated Press that Fed Up! proved he was too conservative to seek the White House.

“I think probably the best display, the best concrete evidence that I’m really not running for president is this book,” Perry said, “because when you read this book, you’re going to see me talking about issues that for someone running for public office, it’s kind of been the third rail, if you will.”

—  John Wright

If you liked Bush, you’ll love Perry

Gov. Rick Perry and President George W. Bush are shown together in Austin in 2008. (Associated Press)

Anti-gay governor’s presidential bid is a nightmare, but sadly some in LGBT community will support him

DAVID WEBB  |  The Rare Reporter

Someone please shake me awake, because this must be a nightmare. That’s what I was thinking last weekend as I watched Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s announcing that he’s seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for president in 2012. The most outrageously outspoken anti-gay governor in the history of Texas has decided that he wants to take his act to Washington.

More than anything else, I’ve wanted to see a conclusion to Perry’s seemingly unending, tyrannical reign over Texas politics, but this is not what I had in mind.

The scariest part is that I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Perry snatches the Republican nomination away from current GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney — and anyone else who is eyeing the spot. The only scenario that could make the situation any worse would be Perry naming his buddy Sarah Palin as a running mate.

My guess is that Perry and his team feel pretty confident.

This is a career politician who, in addition to being the longest-serving governor, has never lost an election since he entered politics as a state legislator in 1984.
During his announcement speech in South Carolina, Perry focused on economics and steered clear of social issues, but we all know where he stands on LGBT equality.

He is adamantly opposed to it, just as he is to a woman’s right to choose.

The week before his announcement, Perry held a rally in Houston to pray away the nation’s problems. As the poster boy for evangelical Christians, Perry has made it clear he’ll do that group’s bidding if he goes to Washington.

In his speech he only referred to overturning President Barack Obama’s health care plan, but anyone who thinks he wouldn’t target every other progressive measure approved in the last three years is in for a big shock. As a former Air Force pilot and Texas A&M cadet yell leader, he no doubt bristled when “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed.

What makes Perry particularly dangerous to the LGBT community is the rumor that he once was sexually involved with other men in Austin. The rumor has plagued his career, although he appears to have convinced his conservative religious base that it’s untrue. Perry may view anti-gay rhetoric as a way of combating the rumor.

Gay activists and journalists from the national media are combing through Perry’s past at this moment to determine if there is any truth to the rumor, but I suspect they are coming up empty-handed.

I recently wrote that I didn’t think there was any truth to the rumor, and I received quite a few
emails from gay Texans telling me I was wrong. I spoke with one of them on the phone who told me that a married, closeted male legislator had allegedly told several people that he had been involved sexually with Perry.

The biggest problem with the story is that the former legislator has credibility problems. On top of that, I understand that he now denies having ever been involved with Perry.

The only other incident possibly involving homosexuality is a story about Perry and another Boy Scout in Haskell County being caught in a sleeping bag together on a camping trip. That was when Perry, now 61, was about 10, and he reportedly got into the sleeping bag of a 12-year-old because he was cold. The two reportedly slept “back to back” during the night.

The Scoutmaster reportedly raised a fuss about the innocent incident when he discovered the two boys together the next morning, so that could possibly help explain some of Perry’s aversion to anything related to LGBT people. Such a scolding at that early of an age could have made a strong impression on our presidential hopeful.

I had also heard that Perry was seen in the late 1980s in an Austin gay disco called the Boat House, but I have a little trouble believing that as well.

Perry has clearly been motivated all of his life to succeed and overcome his humble beginnings, and that has involved a lot of macho posturing. In my opinion he would never have made an appearance at a gay bar, even if he was bi-curious and experimenting a little bit.

Unless someone has some compromising pictures of Perry or someone credible comes forward to acknowledge a same-sex relationship with the governor, I don’t think that story is going anywhere.

There are plenty of tales out there about Perry and wild youthful antics before he was married, but those are of no consequence in 2011, as a veteran politician
pointed out to me recently. Hypocrisy equals zilch in terms of derailing a presidential bid in today’s world.

In fact, I’m confident many LGBT voters will support Perry for president. It’s a curious phenomenon that I’ve seen time and time again. Politicians can spout anti-gay rhetoric from dawn to dusk, and many members of our community will still vote for them.

To those people I would say, if you liked having George W. Bush in the White House, you no doubt would love seeing James Richard “Rick” Perry in the Oval Office.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. Email him at

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Uplifted by ‘The Response,’ Gov. Perry may announce presidential bid this week

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. More than 30,000 people are said to have attended “The Response,” Gov. Rick Perry’s day of prayer and fasting at Reliant Stadium in Houston on Saturday. Check out our coverage of the LGBT (and non-LGBT) responses to The Response here, here, here and here. For those who actually care what went on inside the stadium, we’ve posted some video below. The first segment is Perry’s speech in its entirety, which turned out to be rather political despite his assurances that it wouldn’t be. The second is a report from the Texas Tribune which indicates that not all attendees — including Perry — actually fasted on Saturday. And the third is a compilation from Right Wing Watch featuring some of the speakers at the event.

2. Now that The Response is over, Perry is likely to announce that he’s running for president as early as this week.

3. But not all Republicans are thrilled about Perry’s all-but-certain candidacy. During NBC’s Meet The Press on Sunday, GOP consultant Alex Castellanos called Perry “Sarah Palin in a skirt” and a “lighter” version of George W. Bush.

—  John Wright

‘Traditional values’ take a hit in the polls

HIGH AND LOW | Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, right, had the highest favorability ratings of possible Republican presidential candidates in a recent CNN poll. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, left, had the highest ‘unfavorability’ rating.

Percentage of people saying government should ‘promote traditional values’ drops below 50 percent for the 1st time

LISA KEEN | Keen News Service

“Traditional values” didn’t do too well in the latest CNN poll of American adults.

For the first time in the 18 years since the question was first asked, the percentage of adults thinking that the government should “promote traditional values” has dropped below 50 percent.

Of the 1,015 adults surveyed between June 3 and 7, 46 percent said the government should promote traditional values, but 50 percent said government should “not favor any set of values.” Four percent had no opinion.

The survey results, which were released Sunday, June 12, had a margin of error of plus or minus three points.

Just last year, 53 percent of respondents said government should promote “traditional values” and, according to CNN, past polls have shown support as high as 59 percent (in October 2001 and January 1996).

But since the question was first asked, in 1993, responses have fluctuated dramatically.

In 2001, for instance, the question was asked in September and again in October. In September 2001, 53 percent said government should promote “traditional values”; in October, 59 percent said so.

The previous low point for traditional values came in September 2005, when only 50 percent of adults said government should promote them.

CNN did not explain what it meant by “traditional values,” but in political discourse, the phrase has emerged as code for “anti-gay.”

The right-wing Traditional Values Coalition defines traditional values as including the view that homosexuality is an abomination, but also includes views that are anti-abortion, pro-death penalty and pro-religion.

Some polls have asked questions concerning “traditional marriages,” usually seeking respondents’ views on allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Two years ago, Fox News asked, “Do you think straight people in your community who have traditional religious values are tolerant of gays and lesbians and their beliefs?”

Sixty-seven percent said they think straight people in their communities are “very tolerant” or “somewhat tolerant.”

CNN’s question was asked this year along with questions concerning Republican candidates for president, in a preview of CNN’s debate Monday night with seven GOP contenders.

CNN asked survey participants to express their opinions on 10 potential candidates. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has suggested he might run, had the highest favorability ranking.

Fifty-five percent of adults surveyed said they had a favorable opinion of Giuliani. He was followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 39 percent, and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas with 34 percent.

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin earned the highest “unfavorability” rating: 52 percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion of the former Alaska governor.

Palin was followed by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, of whom 44 percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion.

Interestingly, the respondents also identified Palin as the Republican who represents values of Republicans.

The Democratic Party fared better than the Republican Party in the poll. While 55 percent of those surveyed said they had a favorable view of the Democratic Party; only 49 percent had a favorable view of the GOP.

© 2011 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

—  John Wright