Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Sinclair Broadcast Group Season 4, Ep 18
- Trump's travel ban is partially-reinstated by the Supreme Court in anticipation of its upcoming full review to not affect refugees with a "credible claim of a bona-fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States," which Trump's State Department took the opportunity to define narrowly to immediate and a select few extended family members, not including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or brothers or sisters-in-law. YouTube (5m partial)
- And Now: CBS 2 Meteorologist John Elliott Engages in a Bit Too Much Self-Deprecation
- Main Story: The dangers posed by Sinclair ownership of television stations filling local news reports with Fox News-style propaganda, including "must run" conservative pieces. LWT produced a short piece that Tribune stations that might be acquired by Sinclair could air to warn viewers about upcoming biased content that may appear there. YouTube (19m)
- News that Rachel Maddow bought a wax figure of President Eisenhower from the closed Hall of Presidents and First Ladies in Gettysburg, Steven Colbert bought Zachary Taylor, Jon Steward bought Martin Van Buren, and LWT bought five President statues: Nixon, Clinton, Carter, Harrison and Warren G. Harding, that last one of which became the main character of a movie trailer LWT made, with Campbell Scott, Anna Kendrick, Michael McKean, James Cromwell and Laura Linney. YouTube (9m)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Vaccines Season 4, Ep 17
- Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray, as promised, decided to sue Last Week Tonight for their coverage of them. DJWheezy managed to find a PDF of the actual complaint on The Daily Beast's website! (So you don't have to mess around with their annoying web interface.) Give that a read, if only for the mental image of Bob Murray claiming he's clinging to life and needs an oxygen tank to breathe.
- In explaining that he actually has no tapes of his conversation with James Comey, President Trump embarks on a nonsensical digression about Obama and surveillance, leaving Oliver to ask "What the fuck was that?" And it wasn't even the end of the clip....
- The Senate moves forward, but not yet to a vote, on their own version of ACA replacement, the "Better Care Reconciliation Act," which would drastically cut Medicaid.
- And Now: The Ongoing Controversy Over WNEP 16 Scranton's Backyard Train, and later, Seriously: The People of Scranton Are Very Invested in WNEP 16's Backyard Train.
- Main story: Vaccines, an amazing discovery that has reshaped the modern world for the better, and vaccine skeptcism, which seeks to destroy it. YouTube (27m)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The US Coal Industry Season 4, Ep 16
So recently you may have heard these things happening....
- The mistrial in Bill Cosby's sexual assault case, the result of which prompted Cosby to exclaim Fat Albert's catchphrase "Hey hey hey!" while exiting the courtroom, further soiling all of our memories.
- The incredibly unpopular AHCA Take Two, accompanied by a fitting graphic of the GOP logo with a blue skull superimposed with stars for eyes. Of the version passed by the House, Trump (who held a presentation where he celebrated its passing) was quoted as saying it was "mean," the irony entirely lost on him. Its very existence is causing problems in insurance markets, as companies decide if they want to pull out of the current markets or not.
- And Now: Things People's Fathers Used To Say
- Main Story: Coal, coal mining jobs, coal executives, coal mining companies, executives of coal companies, and Donald Trump's fixation on the mineral, discussed divorced of its (tremendous) ecological toll. Eventually the story comes around to involving a giant squirrel.... YouTube (24m)
- A new installment of Stupid Watergate. James Comey tells Congress under oath that he had no doubt he was fired because of the Russia investigation, which everyone knew anyway but still sent shockwaves, and that wasn't the end of it.
- And Now: There Is No Group Of People More Easily Amazed Than The Audience Of "America's Got Talent."
- Main story: The continuing negotiations of the UK over Brexit, and the harm done to them by Prime Minister Theresa May's ill-considered snap election which lost her a lot of seats. YouTube (19m)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Paris Climate Agreement Season 4, Ep 14
- Terrorist attacks in London killed 7 and injured more. The American news media is full of stories of London "reeling" and "under siege." Londoners take issue with that description, continue drinking beer and carrying on.
- Vladimir Putin is in many places, from clips to an Oliver Stone series of interview on him to interviewing former Fox host Megyn Kelly, where he admited Russian citizens may have interfered with the US election, while Trump's administraion looks into returning Russian compounds on US soil known to have been used for spying.
- And Now: 60 Minutes Anchors Are Still Prompting People To Give Them The Exact Soundbites They Need.
- Main story: Trump announces that he is pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement, a decision with possibly disasterous consequences. YouTube (21m)
- And Now: Still More 60 Minutes Anchors Prompting People To Give Them The Exact Soundbites They Need.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Net Neutrality II Season 4, Ep 11
Recently in the news....
- More on the court case where Eminem is suing New Zealand's National Party for using, in an ad, a song that sounds just a little too close to "Lose Yourself."
- The U.S. House of Representatives rapidly moves to pass an updated (but still no better) version of the AHCA, before most people really knew what exactly was in it and before the Congressional Budget Office could score it, sending it to the Senate.
- And Now: To Celebrate Their Engagement This Week, A Look Back At The Romance Between Joe Scarborough And Mika Brzezinski. "Congratulations?"
- Main story: Net Neutrality is up in the air again due to Trump's newly-appointed head of the FCC Ajit Pai, a pseudo-hip former Verizon lawyer planning on changing the rules. LWT notes that his complaints about the restrictiveness of the current rules are a bit disinginuous, since it was a court case brought by Verizon that resulted in them. The FCC is once again soliciting public opinion, and like they did in the show's fifth episode, LWT encourages you to write in with your opinion, this time purchasing a domain name, www.gofccyourself.com, to take people to a search that makes the comment request easy to find, important since the FCC's comment form is less friendly to navigate than it was the first time. YouTube (20m)
So, what's up in the world?
- "We begin with A Narcissistic, Unstable Man Who Just Might Kill Us All." In this case, that means Trump and Kim Jong-un, between whom tensions have been racheting up lately. Trump "sends" and "armada" to deter North Korea, although it turns out the weren't heading right there, but instead going to Austrailia.
- Turkey President Recep Erdoğan consolidates power with a referrendum that takes him closer to being a dictator.
- And Now: Cable News. (It's a lot of arguing and people talking over each over, sometimes up to 10 at once.)
- Main story: Trump's advisors and relatives Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, popularly regarded as moderating influences. LWT takes a closer look and notes that we we really know little about them, and what we do know suggests Ivanka is more about preserving the Trump brand, and Jared is an underachiever, extremely inexperienced, and is ludicrously in over his head. YouTube (22m)
- And Finally: Bill O'Reilly: A Life In Television.
Meanwhile, back on Earth....
- Trump's Press Secretary Sean Spicer digs an incredible hole for himself, first appearing to claim that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria was worse than Hitler because Hitler never used chemical weapons (he did), then that Hitler never used them against innocent people (he did), then making up the term "Holocaust centers" as the place where Jews were gassed.
- Trump meets with China president Xi Jinping, who apparently in 10 minutes convinced him to do what over half the United States desperately wanted him to do for months: learn a damn thing about North Korea. Alas they did so at Trump's Mar-a-Lago, having recently been cited for 13 health code violations. Trump continues to flip-flop on practically everything related to foreign policy, underscoring how desperately stupid his campaign was.
- Trump drops a "MOAB" (Mother Of All Bombs) on Afghanistan, causing euphoric celebration at Fox News from Geraldo Rivera. When directly asked if he had authorized the strike, Trump danced around the question.
- And Now: You Put Easter And Local News Together, And What Do You Fucking Expect?
- Main Story: The upcoming French Presidental elections, between 11 different candidates, at least three of which have been assaulted in public by citizens throwing baking ingredients. YouTube (18m)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Gerrymandering Season 4, Ep 8
- Gorsuch appointed to Supreme Court via the "nuclear option," Devin Nunez recuses himself from investigating Trump as he himself is comes under an ethics investigation, and Thursday: Trump launches missiles at a Syrian airfield on very short notice and without apparent strategy while Brian Williams sings rhaposodies about their beauty. It's an act that, like so many of Trump's other acts, he tweeted against when Obama did it.
- Bill O'Reilly hit by revelations that he settled multiple sexual harrasment suits totalling 15 million dollars over the years, leading to around 60 advertisers pulling ads from his show, but somehow a defense from Donald Trump. Sensing an opportunity, LWT pushed to fill some of the vacated time with their Catheter Cowboy, who will hopefully soon be telling Trump: "You're blowing this. You're sacrificing the chance to make society a better place on the altar of your towering ignorance and your fragile ego. YOU ARE BLOWING THIS."
- Main story: The gigantic problem of gerrymandering, mostly from Republicans, but from some Democrats too, as well as the difficulties with redrawing districts fairly and intelligently. YouTube (20m)
Sebastian Gorka calls in again to comment on the fall of the hated Bannon and disclaim his connections to fascist movements: "Do you consider a surface-level series of tattoos to be a 'deep tie' to an organization? I'm not an active member." [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Marijuana Legalization Season 4, Ep 7
So what happened last week?
- The Trump/Putin scandal continues, which the show has dubbed Stupid Watergate, because "it has all the potential consequences of Watergate, but everyone involved is really stupid." This week time it was Devin Nunez, whose claims of wiretapping Trump officials unraveled. Nunez himself was one of those alleged to have been wiretapped, a conflict of interest for an investigator.
- British PM Theresa May invokes Article 50, beginning the process of leaving the European Union.
- And Now: Yet Another Look at the Awkward Sex Talk on CBS This Morning.
- Main Story: Marijuana legalization, or rather, how its differing legality at state and national levels causes grave problems for businesses and users alike. YouTube (17m)
- And Now: Twenty-Seven Seconds of the Breakfast Foreplay That Is CBS This Morning.
- Finally, more of the Bolivian Traffic Zebras, who responded graciously to John Oliver's gushing about them in the previous episode.
Homeland: R For Romeo Season 6, Ep 11
Carrie and Quinn make a discovery; Keane makes a decision; Max finds trouble. [more inside]
Over the past 10,080 minutes....
- "President Trump, two words that continue to sound bad together, like 'Horse Pope,' or 'Dr. Oz.'" Trump meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the first time, whom he denigrated often on the campaign trail. He refused to shake her hand, which was almost as weird as that hand-pull thing he does when he shakes hands.
- Trump also doubled-down on claims that Obama tapped his phones, claiming as a source a "talented legal mind" on Fox who turned out to be noted conspiracy theorist Judge Andrew Napolitano. Even Fox News backed away from the claim. Fareed Zakaria described Trump's behavior on CNN by using the word "bullshit" and variants of it several times.
- And Now: Morning News Shows Celebrating St. Patrick's Day Literally The Only Way They Know How.
- Main story: The Federal Budget and Trump's plans for it, which are predictably terrible.
- And Now: A Special St. Patrick's Day Moment From Fox & Friends.
- Finally... Bolivian Traffic Zebras. Bolivian Traffic Zebras. People in Zebra costumes helping traffic in Bolivia. Oliver asks, what situations wouldn't be made better by a helpful person in a zebra costume, and answers: nothing. To this end, LWT has posted green screen footage of a dancing zebra to their YouTube channel, for the use and wonder of all.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Dalai Lama Season 4, Ep 4
Over the last seven day period....
- The good will President Trump earned addressing Congress in a manner unlike a madman is burnt away by continuing revelations that his pick for Attorney General perjured himself in his confirmation hearing by claiming never to have met with the Russians.
- Trump also claims Obama tapped his phone, an allegation apparently gotten from the Breitbart website, then asks Congress to investigate whether it is true, reversing the usual order of investigations.
- And Now: Does Anyone Know If CNN's Brooke Baldwin Would Consider Herself A Nerd?
- Main Story: The Dalai Lama (YouTube 19m), and China's attempts to surpress his influence over Tibet. The bit concludes with an interview between Oliver and the Dalai Lama himself.
So, last week....
- "Unfortunately, we must begin, again, with President Trump, two words that continue to sound unnatural together, like 'Walrus Porn,' or 'Tilda Swinton.'" Trump promises a crackdown on illegal immigrants, despite problems hiring ICE agents, and withdraws Obama-era guidelines for transgender students in school bathrooms.
- And Now: Some Random Thoughts From WCBS2 Meteorologist John Elliott
- Main Story: The Affordable Care Act (YouTube 19m), and Republicans trying to repeal it despite unexpected (to them) popular opposition. LWT examines what it is, problems with it, and Republican plans to fix it.
- And Now: WCBS2 Meteorologist John Elliott Drops Some Famous Names
- Finally, the Supreme Court. Republicans refused to hold a hearing for Obama's Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland for 11 months, so that they'd have the opportunity to have their guy Neil Gorsuch confirmed, a historic abberation. To reflect this, LWT's Dog Supreme Court is filling the seat, not with a dog, but by a choice of three lobsters, that they're asking viewers to vote for on their Twitter feed.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Vladimir Putin Season 4, Ep 2
So, what happened last week?
- President Trump continues to amplify unquestioningly whatever whimsical story was presented on Fox News, this time that Sweden is having problems with immigrants, which Sweden denies.
- The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong-nam (Wikipedia), was poisoned in an airport, by a woman who claims she was told to do it as part of a reality show.
- A Florida man plotted to have bombs placed in 10 Target stores in order to drive stock prices down.
- AND NOW: Fox & Friends is Painfully Aware of Who is Watching Them
- MAIN STORY: Russia, specifically Vladimir Putin (YouTube, 20m). Him, his regime, how he's profited, what happens to those who oppose him, and Trump's fascination for him. LWT produced a short dance number about him, refering to the Russian pop song praising Putin.
Okay, disruption 2.0: Chicago Police Department 2.0. Let's have a precinct that we don't tell anyone about. Let's have a precinct where we can take people, and we don't register them, we don't officially arrest them, we don't fingerprint them, we just take them to a room, and we disrupt.On this week's regular show, it's the original dry boys, Matt, Felix, and Will, recording from Felix's unsanitary new Greenpoint FOB. They're mostly stuck talking about Trump news like the rest of us. Fortunately, there's a B story about the show APB, on how drones and apps are the future of law enforcement, which will be live-streamed by Officer Pewdiepie.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Trump vs. Truth Season 4, Ep 1
The first episode of season four! And so let's get right on to THIS WEEK....
- The inauguration of Donald Trump, and his whirlwind of activity, which Oliver describes as "the tip of the shitberg."
- AND NOW: Donald Trump Can't Shake Hands Right.
- MAIN STORY: Trump vs. Truth (24m, NSFW). While just over a quarter of Obama's statements rated Mostly False or worse by Politifact.com, nearly 70% of Trumps rate so. In the process of covering this rich topic, we visit a Fox News commercial with a "cowboy," Breitbart, Alex Jones (apparently a primary source of information for him). They cover the history of the "three million voted illegally" lie from Twitter rando to President-Elect Trump to clueless person parroting it, creating a hideously self-reinforcing echo chamber that is currently driving policy in the United States.
Inspired by this comment, would folks be interested in assembling a club to watch and discuss films in the context of the current U.S. administration and/or the rightward tilt of the world? The idea would be to draw from a broad base of films, albeit with more of an emphasis on things that can create uplift or provide guidance about how to go forward rather than pure criticism of the present. Asking because I am terrible at running clubs, but sort-of-okay about joining them. [more inside]
Brexit resignations, Trump tantrums and MASSIVE CHICKEN NEWS. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Trump's Border Wall Season 3, Ep 6
This week.... Brazillians protest against their president Dilma Rousseff and their legislature moves to impeach, although 60% of members themselves face criminal charges of some kind. Obama nominates Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by Scalia's death. And Now: two segments on CBS This Morning's Awkward Sex Talk. Main story: Trump's proposal to build a border wall along the US/Mexico border. (YouTube 19m) Finally, Last Week Tonight begins to consider updating their All-Dog Supreme Court and asks the public to choose a dog for the event that Garland gets confirmed. [more inside]
This week.... The Republican primaries degenerate into yet more chaos, and the Republican elite tear into Donald Trump. LWT presents a short clip of Morgan Fairchild reading Trump's former wife Ivana's (remember her?) barely-fictionalized account of sex with him. Trump's confrontational attitude in tweets has begun to inspire imitators even worse than the original. And Now: People On TV Mean "Fucking." Main story: Special-purpose districts (YouTube 15m), local governmental entities created for a purpose but given little oversight, and which are sometimes wildly abused. Many people don't know what they are, so to help spread the world, LWT made an explanatory video with the help of some California school children. [more inside]
David Plotz, Emily Bazelon and John Dickerson discuss the unfolding anti-Trump effort, Hillary Clinton's general election potential and the Supreme Court's recent debate about abortion access in West Texas. [more inside]
Sneak up on us very carefully as Ask Ken and Robin responds to a Josh Kroger question regarding stealth systems in RPGs. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Donald Trump Season 3, Ep 3
This week.... Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi attempts to tackle his nations economic woes while wasting money on red carpets and begging for donations. President Obama tries, again, to close Guantanamo Bay over the objections of Congress. And Now: Basketball Enthusiast Pat Roberts Spends Twelve Minutes of Sentate Time Fantasizing About Playing One-On-One with the President. "Our main story tonight, and I cannot believe I am saying this, is Donald Trump." (YouTube 22m) A long and hilarious segment on Trump's many many failings, ending with the revelation that his ancestral family name was, in fact, Drumpf -- a word which the show has filed paperwork to trademark. They also own the website donaldjdrumpf.com, and offer an extension for Chrome called The Drumpfinator. Additionally, last week's segment on Hollywood Whitewashing (5m) is available on LWT's YouTube channel. [more inside]
This week.... Donald Trump wins the South Carolina Republican Primary despite a feud with the Pope, and Jeb Bush finishes fourth. Republicans dig in on not confirming whatever replacement Supreme Court Justice Obama nominates. The "Judicial Crisis Network" makes an ad saying Republican senators should not confirm made mostly of smiling faces bought from stock footage sites. Last Week Tonight provides a stock footage rebuttal. How is This Still a Thing: Hollywood whitewashing. This week's main story:
breast implants abortion (16m), and the stealth efforts of the right to outlaw it de facto by making it impossible in some states to operate an abortion clinic through the imposition of ridiculously onerous rules. The show finishes up with footage of a bucket of baby slothes -- and one in person, in the studio. Metafilter thread. [more inside]