Credit Where Credit's Due

by Miles Leicher

One down, 34 to go!  Either I'm talking about the show, or just finished my drink.  You be the judge.  Now, I was going to dedicate today's blog to discussing Golden Globes dresses, but then I decided to shift my focus to what's in the news.  So, obviously, this post will be about Golden Globes dresses.  January Jones: yes; Michelle Williams: mess.  Okay, that's enough.  That goes for you, too, Huffington Post.

If you tuned in Friday night (or to one of the numerous replays thereafter), you know it was an awesome episode.  If you missed out, or if you don't have HBO (but like to pretend that you do), check out the Real Time with Bill Maher podcast on iTunes.  It's not every day you get to hear Elizabeth Warren talk about "word barf."  Yes, we keep it classy.

Professor Warren was referring to the overwhelming verbiage found on credit card and mortgage documents, where lenders have been taking advantage of our inability - or unwillingness - to read the fine print.  "It's a crazy world out there on credit," she said. "And that has caused untold damage to millions of American families."  Warren said her new job at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is to make sure that Americans understand the financial risk they're taking before they use their Macy's card to buy, say, a shark tank.  Okay, maybe she didn't say the shark tank part, but wouldn't it be cool if Macy's sold those?!

Really though, at the root of the problem is us: consumers.  In the last 50 years, we've experienced a fundamental shift in the way we buy things.  We used to save and spend; now we just spend.  Credit was supposed to give us more flexibility with our money but, like a drunk with a Jacuzzi jet, we aren't using it right.  Now we've forced companies to be up front with us about the cost of using credit, which is great, but that alone is unlikely to change our behavior.  The dangers are clearer, yet some people won't learn their lesson until the paramedics show up and drain the tub.  I'm not speaking from personal experience...just a guy I know.

Speaking of not helping ourselves, the news outlets have been abuzz over some provocative pictures of Arizona shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner.  Apparently he dropped off a roll of 35mm film at Walgreens and a few photos showed him posing with his gun in a red G-string.  As you can imagine, everybody in the Real Time writers' room was incredulous; people still develop film at Walgreens?! If you didn't believe this guy was crazy before, there's your proof.

There is some good news coming out of Arizona: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' condition is improving. Her husband told ABC News' Diane Sawyer that Giffords spent 10 minutes giving him a neck massage in the ICU.  Man, that guy is smooth!  "Hey babe, I know you've had a rough week, but I've got this kink that's realllllly been buggin' me..."  As Bill would say, I kid the astronaut.  I'm sure if she hadn't been feeling up to it, the headache excuse would've sufficed.

Well, it's time for me to go rub head writer Billy Martin's tummy (we have an arrangement), so I'll leave you to your own devices.  If you don't have devices of your own, click over to the Real Time podcast I mentioned earlier.  You'll find some real treats on there, like "2 Minutes Maher."  Every week, staffer Scott Wyhs finds hilarious tidbits of material that don't make it to the live show and assembles them for your aural pleasure.  Incidentally, Aural Pleasure was the name of my band in college. Enjoy!