Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Gerrymandering
April 12, 2017 12:28 AM - Season 4, Episode 8 - Subscribe

So, recently?
  • 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)

  • Bill O'Reilly: "Scientists have hypothesized is kind of a dense nebula of boners and racism."
  • Sounds suggested to resemble the noise of O'Reilly pleasuring himself: a dog's jowls flapping in the wind when it sticks its head out a car's window, someone frantically stirring cake batter, or a subtle "tap tap tap" like an applauding mouse.
The excerpts from the sex scene from Bill O'Reilly's book Those Who Trespass (1998):
"I would like you to unhook your bra and let it slide down your arms. You can keep your shirt on." ... "Cup your hands under your breasts and hold them for ten seconds." ... "He slipped the hose down to her ankles, all the while continuing to knead her skin with his tongue. Ashley climaxed twice before the two got up from the couch."

"He had accomplished his goal, giving Ashley Van Buren a night she would long remember. His physical pleasure was secondary. His primary euphoria came from knowing that Ashley was enjoying every bit of his expertise."
People mentioned in the closing segment who, instead of their political will being thwarted by gerrymandering, should be free to express their poor judgement upon the political world: Juggalos, 47-year-old Quiddich players, the person who bought the $6,000 tiger-emblazoned leather jacket Oliver showed off last week, Scientologists, Parrotheads (Jimmy Buffet fans, apparently), guys who ride unicycles as their primary mode of transportation, EDM bros, a guy jamming a knife into a toaster, Washington Redskins fans, Jill Stein supporters, fedora wearers, bakers of erotic pastries, Santacon attendees and everyone's racist grandmothers.

Explained gerrymandering jargon:
  • "Packing": Packing an opposing party's supporters into one dense distract where political will can be reduced into one representative with a huge surplus of voters.
  • "Cracking" is spreading an opposing party's supporters thinly across many districts where they will have difficulty reaching a majority.
What would US districts look like if chosen to maximize compactness (Washington Post, but which, as Oliver warns, is not always optimal) - Gerrymandering, Explained (Washington Post) -'s page on gerrymandering

Gerrymandering on the basis of race is forbidden by law, but there is currently no law forbidding it for direct political aim, only the standard strictures of shame and decency which, as we all know, have been particularly lacking as of late.

The North Carolina state representative who, for strict legal reasons, so brazenly claimed he was not engaged in racial gerrymandering, only political gerrymandering: David Lewis (R).

The Illinois representative who grinned so malevolently when promising they'd draw a fair map: Vince Demuzio (D, former, deceased)

The reason a name had to be drawn from a replica of Abraham Lincoln's hat: it was to break a tie in approving a redistricting plan for Illinois in 2000. Here's the details.

F. 37: Roastus In Pace, DON RICKLES
posted by JHarris (3 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
“Nunes”, not “Nunez”
posted by Going To Maine at 11:10 AM on April 12, 2017

Well, and I thought BillO couldn't get any creepier.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:51 PM on April 12, 2017

"The Illinois representative who grinned so malevolently when promising they'd draw a fair map: Vince Demuzio (D, former, deceased)"

Demuzio's widow was not best pleased by the segment, although the consensus among veteran Illinois politics watchers is that Demuzio himself would have been amused, and that that was one of the most epic sarcastic eye-rolls in the history of the universe and certainly in the history of Illinois politics. (A history that, I will remind you, involves Abe Lincoln jumping out of a second-story window to deny opponents a quorum, so it's not like we're lacking in the crazy to pick from.)

And yep, hat drawing, it's an Illinois politics thing. But obviously a replica, you couldn't afford the insurance to draw something out of a REAL Lincoln hat.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:46 PM on April 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

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