by Miles Leicher
Happy Season Premiere Day, everybody! In just a few minutes, Bill Maher will emerge from his office. If he sees his shadow, it will mean six more weeks of winter hiatus. If he doesn't, the show will go on tonight as planned. If you have fingers, please cross them now.
Obviously, we're hoping for the latter because we have such awesome guests tonight. First, Elizabeth Warren (from the newly-formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) will be here to drop some knowledge on us about her new role in the Obama Administration. While I don't think Professor Warren coined the phrase, "mo' money, mo' problems," she may be the only one who truly gets it. We'll have a great panel discussion with James Carville, Mike Murphy and Chrystia Freeland and later, Martin Short will join them with some insight as to how things are done in Canada, eh?
We were going to bring Ted Williams out to sing a sweet, honey-voiced rendition of "Rehab," but we all know how that worked out. You've heard of Ted Williams by now - "the homeless man with the golden voice" - whose discovery went viral, brought him instant fame...and also access to the vices that put him on the street in the first place. What could go wrong? Well, it turns out that he is like Amy Winehouse, with a more pleasant face. Frankly, I'm disappointed in the guy. Not because he let life get away from him the first time around, or couldn't stay sober through his big second chance, or even because he did his one-on-one sit-down with Dr. Phil instead of "Dr." Bill. I'm really just upset because Williams set an unreasonable standard of performance for the homeless here in Hollywood. Just this morning, I told a guy I didn't have any money to give and he pulled a quarter out of my ear.
At some point tonight, the discussion will no doubt turn to the shooting in Arizona. I don't know what will be said, but I'm sure Leno's audience won't like it (Bill was a guest on The Tonight Show on Tuesday). Saturday's shooting spawned all sorts of news coverage; some of it very saddening, some hopeful, and some incredibly crazy. Let's look for a moment at one of the crazy ones: sales of handguns in Arizona soared 60 percent following the shooting. Among the biggest sellers? The Glock 19, similar to the one used by Jared Loughner.
This sort of thing has happened before. There was a run on guns after the Virginia Tech shooting, a run on Ford Broncos after the OJ chase and whenever Linsday Lohan gets arrested, I can't find vodka or Red Bull anywhere. The experts say this happens because people fear that there will be tougher gun control laws. My fear is that there won't be. And also that a bunch of people just bought Glocks. Glock: the "Safe Action Pistol." Really, that's what it's called. In reality, the only action less safe is accepting a hotel room key from Charlie Sheen. On the Glock website, they offer a few basic firearm safety rules. For example, #4: "Always be certain that your target and the surrounding area are safe before firing." I'll stop being snarky in a moment, but not before I point out that most things are safe BEFORE YOU SHOOT AT THEM.
It's said that in tough times like these, we look for answers anywhere we can find them. Some turn to family and friends, others to religion or prayer. I always like to wait and see what sort of guidance will be offered by ex-reality show stars. So you can imagine the solace I felt when Sarah Palin released her take on the whole thing. Watching the video, I was soon cocooned in Reagan quotes, praise of the American spirit and, of course, awkwardly structured sentences. "We know violence isn't the answer," she said. "When we 'take up our arms,' we're talking about our vote."
I'm sorry, what? I don't think anybody else was in on that secret. Maybe she should review her metaphors. I guess we'll have to wait and see if she applies that same interpretation to the Second Amendment (we could always use another affirmation of our voting rights). As for now, we can just assume that Sarah Palin thinks elections are decided by a show of hands.