Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The problems with the US bail system; John Oliver drinks Bud Light Lime
June 8, 2015 9:12 PM - Season 2, Episode 16 - Subscribe

This week: Sepp Blatter steps down as president of FIFA, a week after John Oliver promised to drink Bud Light Lime if he did... but that's for later. First, former FIFA vice president Jack Warner promises to review damaging information about his former employer, and bought time on Trinidad television to air it. Last Week Tonight has also bought five minutes on Trinidad TV, to show their own opinion on the matter -- it will air Tuesday night at 9 PM local time. Chinese hackers are suspected of stealing data on four million US federal employees. In Turkey, a member of the opposition party accuses the Turkish president of buying a golden toilet with taxpayer money. And Now: Last Week Tonight Salutes All The Horses Who Didn't Win The Triple Crown This Week. Main story: the problems with the bail system in state courts, and how they disproportionately harm the poor (sometimes forcing them to plea guilty rather than pay) over the rich, and how reality television has glorified bounty hunters that profit off it. (YouTube 18m) LWT produced their own, less exciting, reality show depicting a saner alternative. And, finally, John Oliver wears a pair of goofy golden Adidas shoes, takes a bit out of everything on McDonalds' Dollar Menu, and, yes, drinks an entire Bug Light Lime. In one go, in fact.

The list of horse names presented: Wickets and Biscuits; Nimble Tim; Bumblebee's Climax; Oedipal Steve; White Guilt; Why Did Daddy Leave?; Tomorrow's Glue; Recliners! Recliners! Recliners!; Dr. Judy Levinson, D.D.S.; Shakira's Tapeworm; Hank Bonesack, Private Investigator.

The things John Oliver compared Bug Light Lime to: Jolly Green Giant ejaculate, the Great Gazoo urinating into a public pool, and a green Jolly Rancher fished out of Mickey Rourke's mouth.
posted by JHarris (22 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is later than I wanted. Honestly, I thought I put it up earlier today, then discovered to my shock that I had only previewed it, and had closed the page before clicking Post. I had even lost my draft, sadly, and had to rewrite it from scratch.
posted by JHarris at 9:13 PM on June 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's not clear if he spit out that last swallow of Bud Light Lime Green Giant Ejaculate, but he did give it a college try.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:45 PM on June 8, 2015


I will never understand how America ended up with its absurd bail system. In Australia, bail works more or less the same way as the pre-trial services system Oliver featured.

In Victoria (and most States are basically the same), there is a three tier system. For low level crimes, there is a presumption of bail - the police/prosecutors have to convince a court why the accused should be held. For mid-level crimes, the presumption is reversed - the accused must "show cause" why they should be released. For the most serious crimes, bail is only granted in exceptional circumstances.

But whenever anyone is released, money is the least significant part of it. Usually, a surety must be provided (someone who has an actual personal connection with the accused, certainly not a professional loan shark / bounty-hunter), and flight risk etc are dealt with by conditions like curfews, reporting to police stations, agreeing to drug treatment, etc. And while there is usually a money bond involved, it is set according to the financial circumstances of the people involved.

It's not a perfect system, but goodness gracious it couldn't be worse than America's.
posted by robcorr at 10:03 PM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


And in Australia, we sure as hell don't make reality shows about bounty hunters, FFS. Wow. Just wow.
posted by crossoverman at 10:46 PM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have don't watch reality TV, so other than a vague notion of the existance of Dog The Bounty Hunter through various spoofs, the bounty hunter as TV was new to me. How depressing. I hat this ridiculous police state and its sycophants.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:57 PM on June 8, 2015


Are those TV shows real !?! Wow, just... wow. I guess The Running Man will be a reality soon.
posted by Pendragon at 3:11 AM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is later than I wanted.

Well, since HBO Now doesn't have the episodes up until after 2am my time, Monday evening is totally the right time to post these!

And having read about Kalief Browder before seeing the episode, the bail segment was even sadder.
posted by asperity at 9:12 AM on June 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


The whole thing about bail, and especially bounty hunters, bothered me so much I didn't really enjoy Veep.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:15 AM on June 9, 2015


FWIW:
Crosby - M
Stills - F
Nash - K
posted by Sys Rq at 10:22 AM on June 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Are those TV shows real !?!

Very possibly. The U.S. television landscape has such a long tail--there are hundreds of channels out there producing original content--that it's nigh impossible to keep track of what's out there. Sometimes it's great (I never had occasion to seek out BBC America until I heard about Orphan Black), sometimes it leads to ridiculous swarm behavior (there are literally dozens of reality shows just about people living in Alaska), and sometimes it's bottom-feeding garbage like this.
posted by psoas at 10:36 AM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Cable TV is a racket. It's all paid for from subscriptions; advertising revenue is just icing, so it doesn't really matter if anybody actually watches anything. They just slap together the cheapest shows possible to minimize overhead. (Home renovation and decorating shows are especially easy money, since everything is bankrolled by product placement. This is also how similarly-themed print magazines continue to exist.)

Every once in awhile, one such cheapo reality show will become inexplicably popular, and everyone -- especially the channel that produced it in the first place -- will rush to copy the format rather than expending effort on thinking up something original. Hence all the bounty hunter shows (Dog the Bounty Hunter was very popular ten years ago), and, thanks to the baffling popularity of Storage Wars -- essentially a (staged) infomercial promoting storage locker auctions as a great way to make money by stealing the property of people who forgot to update the credit card info on their storage locker rental agreement -- we've got Storage Wars, Storage Wars: Texas, Storage Wars: New York, Storage Wars: Canada, Container Wars, Auction Hunters, Storage Hunters, Baggage Battles, Barry'd Treasure, and Brandi & Jarrod: Married to the Job, and those are just the ones linked from that Wikipedia article.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:34 AM on June 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am really looking forward to "John Oliver: The Mittens of Disapproval are On." According to this, we non-Trinidadians can live stream it.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:56 AM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


What Oliver failed to mention is that most opposition to reforming bail is provided by the bail industry itself, which lobbies extensively and makes campaign contributions to state legislatures to preserve the status quo (see, e.g. page 4 of "For Better or For Profit" from the Justice Policy Institute.)

Whenever a state considers fixing this, the bail industry pops up with thousands in campaign donations and a tough on crime campaign, advertising how bail is supposedly cost effective (providing "free" law enforcement to the state essentially). They've worked with ALEC to propose state laws requiring bail and at higher amounts for more crimes, restricting the ability for judges to release defendants on their own recognizance even for non-violent crimes. They've also gotten laws passed in several states requiring bail bonds before prisoners can be paroled (as discussed last year in Mother Jones).

This was obvious to me, and I'm someone who has merely read a couple of articles on the subject over the past couple years. Surely someone who spent enough time researching the topic to produce an 18 minute news report could have found this stuff out?

In short, the actual story here isn't really bail, it's the endless parade of governmental corruption that, despite rarely being acknowledged, underlies most weeks' stories on Last Week Tonight. Yes, the argument in John Oliver isn't Mad Max: He's Part of the Problem. was a bad one, but there is a broader problem here, and I wish we could be bothered to acknowledge it.
posted by zachlipton at 10:44 PM on June 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


I know it's just a show and I should really just relax, but did Bud Light, Addidas or Mcdonald's pull their sponsorships? That was the deal. I mean, obviously, you do the bit for the sake of comedy, but the sponsors didn't actually do anything, or did I miss something?
posted by skewed at 11:29 PM on June 9, 2015


I know it's just a show and I should really just relax, but did Bud Light, Addidas or Mcdonald's pull their sponsorships?

He promised to do all that stuff if the sponsors '[made] Blatter go away':
“Please, make Sepp Blatter go away. I will do anything. Adidas, I will wear one of your ugly shoes that make me look like the Greek god of aspiring DJs. McDonald’s, I will take a bite out of every item on your dollar menu, which tastes like normal food that was cursed by a vindictive wizard. And I will even make the ultimate sacrifice: Budweiser, if you pull your support and help get rid of Blatter, I will … personally drink one of your disgusting items. … It can be a Bud Light. I will even drink a Bud Light Lime, despite the fact that all the lime in the world cannot disguise the fact that this tastes like a puddle beneath a Long John Silver’s dumpster.”
They expressed concerns, ie made veiled threats to withdraw. And then Blatter resigned.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:39 PM on June 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


ah, cool, didn't know that
posted by skewed at 11:50 PM on June 9, 2015


Here's the YouTube link to John Oliver: The Mittens of Disapproval are On
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:22 AM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's not the link to the Trinidad TV spot, AFAICT, it just looks like a clip from Sunday's episode where he *talks* about running the spot. See, e.g. 3:54.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:30 PM on June 10, 2015




What Oliver failed to mention is that most opposition to reforming bail is provided by the bail industry itself, which lobbies extensively and makes campaign contributions to state legislatures to preserve the status quo (see, e.g. page 4 of "For Better or For Profit" from the Justice Policy Institute.)

In Oliver's defence, corportate lobbying to maintain the profitable but unjust system is pretty much a given in every issue he covers, so the show may feel like the need to vary the narrative here and there to keep this aspect of the show from becoming repetitive.
posted by dry white toast at 4:09 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Jack Warner responds. The dramatic music in the background really sells it for me. Down with comedian fool John Oliver!
posted by Gary at 5:05 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


so the show may feel like the need to vary the narrative here and there to keep this aspect of the show from becoming repetitive.

To say nothing of how repetitive I find it in real life.
posted by zachlipton at 9:11 PM on June 11, 2015


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