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Thank you, Michael Douglas

By Margaret Hoover, CNN Contributor
updated 3:13 PM EDT, Fri June 7, 2013
Award-winning actor Michael Douglas has been in the spotlight for much of his life. Take a look at his life and career. Award-winning actor Michael Douglas has been in the spotlight for much of his life. Take a look at his life and career.
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Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
Scenes from Michael Douglas' life
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • CNN Radio podcast features CNN Opinion contributors on top three stories
  • Dean Obeidallah, John Avlon and Margaret Hoover on IRS, heckling and Michael Douglas
  • Guest LZ Granderson argues that heckling has value as a political tool

Editor's note: Margaret Hoover is the author of "American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party."

(CNN) -- Riddle: What is less popular than herpes, self-inflicted stupidity at its worst, and a gift to the GOP's tax reform agenda?

Answer: The IRS' $4.1 million 2010 Anaheim Conference, where an on-stage artist was paid $17,000 to demonstrate "painting as a learning tool."

Note to the IRS: Dean Obeidallah will paint your next conference for $400, plus room and board, if John Avlon fails to convince President Obama to shut you down. (We have heightened confidence, in light of NSA's cell phone record-collecting, that the White House is indeed listening to The Big Three podcast).

Rarely do we kick off a Big Three podcast with unanimous outrage. The IRS, our least beloved federal agency, has managed to unite us. In my view, while waste, fraud and abuse is rampant in the federal government, this episode will prove especially helpful to the House Republicans' agenda to pass radical tax simplification measures before the 2014 Congressional elections.

Next in the discussion: Is heckling an effective political tactic? Increasingly, some LGBT activists believe heckling is responsible for advancing their political agenda and LZ Granderson (@locs_and_laughs) chimes in on its value. In his CNN Opinion article in response to Mrs. Obama's incident at a D.C. fundraiser this week, LZ makes the case that heckling heightens attention to LGBT issues, suggesting that every major progressive step for the LGBT community during President Obama's administration has occurred in response to a public heckling incident.

For Dean, heckling is personal, and he offers constructive advice to the heckled. First, never give up control of the spotlight to a disruptive audience member. Second, have a prepared zinger to quip back, like, "I don't heckle you at work, I just come to McDonald's and order a big mac and fries." Or, in the case of the first lady, Dean suggests she respond: "Do you really want to heckle a person with access to drones?" He offers other knee slappers, too.

John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, Dean Obeidallah
John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, Dean Obeidallah

Finally, "humble brag" alert on Michael Douglas. The actor stoops to new lows while discussing his cancer and industrious sex life, but still manages to elevate the important health issue -- widespread HPV (human papilloma virus). While the details of his own cancer and comments appear confusing at best, it turns out Texas Gov. Rick Perry was right and Michele Bachmann was wrong. The HPV virus is linked to cervical cancer and some types of head and neck cancer, which the HPV vaccine can eliminate if administered to children and young adults.

Perry as a GOP presidential candidate argued in favor of the availability and administration of this vaccine, while Bachmann, in our view, ridiculously suggested it would lead to increased sexual activity for children (which studies have disproved).

Not quite the Angelina Jolie class act that brought the breast cancer gene into the public consciousness by sharing her choice to undergo a proactive double mastectomy, but Michael Douglas' disgusting bravado has still managed to contribute to public understanding of HPV ... ahh celebrity.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Margaret Hoover.

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