223 posts tagged with johnoliver.
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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mental Health Care  Season 9, Ep 18

This week.... A huge heat wave hits Europe, and a walrus called Freya is sinking small water craft in an attempt to find a spot to sunbathe. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is "sad [...] to be giving up the best job in the world, but them's the breaks." Replacement candidates: Rishi Sunak, trying to establish his social conservative bona-fides by attacking "woke nonsense," an rival Liz Truss. And Now: People On TV Daydreaming About Winning The Lottery. Main story: Mental health care. Reported mental health issues have spiked, exacerbated by the pandemic. On YouTube (25 minutes). And Now: The World's Horniest Televangelist (Dr. Mike Murdock).
posted by JHarris on Aug 4, 2022 - 0 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Inflation  Season 9, Ep 17

This (well, last), week.... Boris Johnson agrees to step down. The January 6th hearings continue, and Josh Hawley, who encourged the rioters, later was seen on camera fleeing from them. Main story: Inflation, another of those words that, like Watergate, has been portmanteau'd to pieces. Reasons for it are numerous and varied, creating a "perfect storm" of causes, although many are quick to blame their usual targets, despite it being a global phenomenon. As a subject for examination, John Oliver presents a particular giant frog statue. On YouTube (24 minutes). And Now: Local News Reacts To The Consquences Of Global Warming Exactly As Expected (reprising an old Johnny Carson bit by asking "How hot is it?"). At the end, further news on LWT's quest to obliterate those creepy dolls that washed up in Texas. (A web exclusive bit, that segment was on YouTube: 9 minutes.) Having obtained them, they are now trying to send them to Austrailia to have them destroyed in a polystyrene recycling machine.
posted by JHarris on Aug 4, 2022 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Rent  Season 9, Ep 15

This week.... The January 6 investigation continues, revealing the complicity of Trump's legal advisor John Eastman. Republicans across the country are fielding election deniers in positions for public office, such as conspiracy theorist and QAnon ally Jim Marchant, the Republican nominee for Secretary of State in Nevada. And Now: In Honor of Father's Day, ZADDIES. Main story: Rent, which has been skyrocketing across the nation, a crisis that's been with us for multiple decades, has gotten much much worse lately, and no one seems willing to do anything about. On YouTube (22 minutes). And Now: It's Always Happy Hour on QVC. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 20, 2022 - 8 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Tech Monopolies  Season 9, Ep 14

This week... the January 6th hearings have begun. A Republican Senate primary in Arizona is getting competitive, between current Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and opponents such as Jim Lamon and Blake Masters, who admires the Unabomber as a "subversive thinker." And Now: Sean Hannity's Favorite Joke. ("It's an Adam Schiff-show") Main story: tech monopolies, especially Apple, Google, and Amazon, and how they often preference their own products when you turn to them for information, software, or merchandise. On YouTube (27 minutes). Look out for a cameo by three movies from Video Brinquedo!
posted by JHarris on Jun 14, 2022 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: School Resource Officers  Season 9, Ep 13

This week.... The Queen of England's Platinum Jubilee. The school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. That leads us directly to the main story: school resource officers, pitched as a way to deter school shootings, but there is little evidence that they do, and there are many drawbacks to their presence in schools. Get ready for terrible stories of police involvement in schools, including a girl getting arrested for a science project that made the cap of a coke bottle pop off. On YouTube (27 minutes) And Now: People On TV Get A Little Too British For The Platinum Jubilee. Finally, vandals last November attacked a banana-and-skull sculpture in Melbourne. The show offers the city, if they will give their sculpture to them, to compensate with donations, plus as a return gift, their statue of a cartoon alligator flipping the bird that they've had pointed at the offices of Dr. Oz. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 6, 2022 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Subway  Season 9, Ep 12

This week.... Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who spread Trump's like about 2020 election fraud (and has said some very disturbing things about how he'd run their election) and marched on the Capitol on January 6, reached a near-tie in the Republican primary for that state. And Now: Some Things They Say In Texas. The main story is about the Subway restaurant chain and the terrible straits their franchisee agreements can put buyers through, which can include opening new stores surprisingly close to each other. On YouTube. (27 minutes) At the end, they present a short romantic drama about a Korean Subway franchisee. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 23, 2022 - 11 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Electric Utilities  Season 9, Ep 11

This week (episode taped on 5/14)... Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. was elected President of the Philippines as was feared in the previous episode, Norway presents a severely WTF entry to Eurovision. Alabama bans the use of hormones and puberity blockers to treat transgender patients under the age of 19, making it a felony punishable by 10 years in prison, a bill signed by Governor Kay Ivey. And Now: The Delightful Delight Of Allison Hammond. Main story: electric utilities: the incredible amount of power their wield, how weakly they can be regulated, and the damage that can do, which has resulted both in the creation of spurious and badly-managed projects in order to charge more on bills in profit, and in them attacking community-led solar projects that threaten their bottom line. In the end, John Oliver is killed by Reddy Kilowatt. On YouTube (24 minutes). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 18, 2022 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Abortion Ruling and Phillipines Election  Season 9, Ep 10

This week... two main stories! #1 is on abortion, and Alito's draft opinion to overturn Roe vs. Wade. John Oliver's points are: what this ruling means, how we got to this point, and where we go now. YouTube (18 minutes) And Now: Local News Shows Go Through The Motions For "Star Wars Day." Main Story #2: The Phillipine elections, which have a chance of dumping current dictator Rodrigo Duterte, but if so one of the possible replacements is Ferdinand Marcos Jr., largely because of the rewriting of history in their media and on the internet. Be on the look out for John saying: "That is the single dumbest story involving a young Michael Jordan I have ever heard, and I have seen Space Jam." YouTube (20 minutes) And Now: WDIV Meteorologist Brandon Roux Enjoys Cinco de Mayo A Little Too Much.
posted by JHarris on May 8, 2022 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Harm Reduction  Season 9, Ep 5

For the week of March 27, 2022. "Russia's invasion of Ukraine entered its second month, North Korea launched its biggest missile test in years," and "the Senate held confirmation hearings for [Supreme Court nominee] Ketanji Brown Jackson," which involved some awful questioning. Prince William and Kate Middleton tour the Caribbean. And Now: Yet Another Installment Of Coming Up On "Inside Edition." Main story: Harm reduction, practical measures for reducing the damage done by drug use. Part of the story is the ludicrous overreaction of some to Fentanyl exposure. It's on YouTube. (18 minutes) And Now: Still More Of Coming Up On "Inside Edition." Finally: the Nenana Ice Classic in Alaska, a yearly competition to guess when river ice melts, and the journey to participate of LWT mascot Marshmallow, the Polar Bear With A Broken Penis. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 7, 2022 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Environmental Racism  Season 9, Ep 9

This week... Flordia governor Ron DeSantis, Texas governor Greg Abbott and L.A. County sherriff Alex Villanueva engage in destructive messaging to rile up their base. And Now: Shaquille O'Neal Can't Stop Explaining How To Save Money On Gas. Main Story: Environmental Racism, on how minorities are exposed to the effects of pollution much more than white people. On YouTube (22 minutes). Infuriating term of the episode: "sacrifice zone." And Now: People On TV Read Rejected License Plates Out Loud.
posted by JHarris on May 3, 2022 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Tickets  Season 9, Ep 4

This week (well, two weeks ago): Russias continuing invasion of Ukraine. In the US, the furor over Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill targeting educators, and Disney's contributions to state legislators who support it. And Now: Jim Cramer Presents Grounds For Divorce (expressing many times his wife's love for Wendy's Baconator hamburger). Main story: the market for event tickets, and the many ways it screws over ticket buyers, from the huge market share and hidden fees of Ticketmaster, to the resale market that allows people to buy up huge numbers of tickets and then, in possession of a near-monopoly, flipping those to fans at a large upcharge. On YouTube (20 minutes).
posted by JHarris on Mar 28, 2022 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Sex Work  Season 9, Ep 2

This week.... The invasion of Ukraine by Russia. And Now: A Look Back at Notable Moments in History. Main story: sex work (25 minutes), and how terribly sex workers are treated by the system. And Now: A Fond Farewell to the Wendy Williams Show. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 28, 2022 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Critical Race Theory  Season 9, Ep 1

This week.... The Ottawa trucker vaccine protests in all their immense selfishness. And Now: The Existential Despair of ABC 3 Morning News. The main story is the right's latest bugaboo, Critical Race Theory (video, 28m), which Fox News and other right-wing media sources have inflamed their viewers and listeners about. What is it, what is it not, and why has the panic around it spread? [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 21, 2022 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Union Busting  Season 8, Ep 30

This week.... Continuing investigations into the perpetrators of the January 6 insurrection. And Now: The Many Questions of Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade. Main story: Union busting (24 minutes), how companies are served by an entire industry of people who provide them scripts and videos on how to do it, and how easily they can get away with it. And, at the end, this is the final episode of Season 8 of Last Week Tonight, so we check in with some friends: George Clooney, an assortment of other celebrities, and The Void from earlier in the season, who has a new talk show! So long John, see you next time. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 16, 2021 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Power Grid  Season 8, Ep 29

This week... electorial problems for Democrats in last Tuesday's election, and, at the COP26 climate summit nations promised to limit emissions to stall global warming but are unlikely to actually do it. And Now: People On TV Saying Things Wrong. Main story (22 minutes): the power grid, a little-regarded engineering marvel, yet one beset by many threats, from squirrels to balloons to age to climate change, but its biggest problem is the push to renewable sources, and transporting that power from the places where it is generated over long distances to where it is needed. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 8, 2021 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Homelessness  Season 8, Ep 28

This week.... Facebook announces their company is now called "Meta." (MeFi). Congress is hammering out Biden's final spending plan. And Now: Once Again, Our Annual Look At What Happens When Local News And Halloween Collide. Main story: Homelessness (25 minutes), and how our institutions make a bad situation for a lot of people worse.
posted by JHarris on Nov 2, 2021 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Taiwan  Season 8, Ep 27

This week: police officers around the US threaten to quit rather than get vaccinated. And Now: The Weather Channel's Graphics Department Is Still Not Fucking Around. Main story: Taiwan, its history as an anti-communist tool by the West, its current-day democratic miracle, and its fraught relationship with Communist China. And Now: James Corden Loves Cinema. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 25, 2021 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Misinformation Among Immigrant Communities  Season 8, Ep 26

This week.... Idaho's Lieutenant Governor issued an executive order forbidding vaccine mandates, even though the Governor is opposed it. It turns out OAN, which has been covered by the show before, owes a lot of its existence to AT&T, the same AT&T that's Last Week's Tonight's abdicating business-daddy, which John Oliver cuts them no slack over. And Now: "Fox & Friends'" Brian Kilmeade Likes Christopher Columbus Way, Way Too Much. Main story (YouTube, 20 minutes) : Misinformation as it spreads through immigrant diaspora communities, for although more than 90% of Facebook monthly users are outside the U.S. and Canada, only 13% of hours the company has spent on monitoring information is focused outside the U.S. LWT made some memeable pass-around videos to try to spread the word about not spreading misinformation on the internet, available at bettermorningmessages.com. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 11, 2021 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: PFAs  Season 8, Ep 25

This week... Covid + Brexit causes widespread gas shortages in the UK. Congress holds a hearing on the impact of social media on teenagers' mental health, causing confusion for Senator Richard Blumenthal on what a "finsta" is. Democrats try to pass the ambitious Build Back Better Act, and predictably Republicans are using every means to block it, aided by the villains of the hour, Senators Manchin and Sinema. And Now: Newscasters Take Issue With The Term "Leaf Peeping." Main story (YouTube, 20 minutes): PFAs, a class of chemicals that cause a variety of health issues and take thousands of years to break down, and has now bioaccumulated in nearly every human being on Earth, including 99.7% of US citizens. At the end, Danny DeVito appears in a bit "promoting" PFAs. Check the level of PFA contamination in the water in your area at ewg.org/pfasmap. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 4, 2021 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Voting Rights  Season 8, Ep 24

This week.... Two hosts of The View test positive for COVID mid-show moments before Kamala Harris was due to appear. In Del Rio, Texas, Haitians attempting to cross the border were met with border patrol agents on horseback wielding makeshift whips. And Now: Local News Anchors Announce The Changing Of The Seasons The Only Way They Know How. ("It's Fall, y'all!") Main story (YouTube, 20 minutes): Voting rights, why they're under attack, and what should be done to protect them. And Now: The Utterly Spectacular Dramatic Pauses Of ESPN's Stephen A. Smith. Finally: duck stamps. They're not postage stamps, but kind of a hunting permit. But they're also collectable, and effective at raising money towards wetland preservation. There is much more to this than you'd expect there to be (see inside for more info). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 27, 2021 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Lukashenko, Dictator of Belarus  Season 8, Ep 23

Last Week Tonight is back, in a studio, and with a live audience and a new set! This week... Texas's awful new abortion law that lets private citizens sue people who got or in any way abetted an abortion, including the people who drove the patient to the hospital. And Now: Yet Again, It's That Time Of Year (Starbucks is bringing back their Pumpkin Spice Latte). Main Story (YouTube, 19 minutes): Belarus, specifically its leader Alexander Lukashenko, the self-proclaimed "last dictator of Europe," who has clung to power for three decades. He's the most popular president Belarus has ever had, but only because he's the only president Belarus has ever had, and is in fact deeply unpopular and controls that nation's media with an iron fist. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 13, 2021 - 10 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Afghanistan  Season 8, Ep 22

Farewell to the white void! It's the last episode from the blank existential nothingness voiced by H. Jon Benjamin. This week... we begin going right into the main story (24 minutes), about the withdrawal, after twenty years, from Afghanistan, a process that began under Trump, continued under Biden, and arguably had to happen someday, but we had hoped would be done in a more orderly and less violent and chaotic way than it has. And Now: Tamron Hall Will Have You Know She Is Fifty. Then, a word about the legal battle between our old friend, Jim "Texas Hammer" Adler, and newcomer to the tool-wielding, television-advertised personal injury law scene, Mike "Alabama Hammer" Slocumb, who looks like he may have stolen some of Jim's shtick. John suggests a new nickname for Slocumb: "The Alabama Banana Slicer," complete with prop that he will happily send on request. And, at last, another, final, moment with the void.... Last Week Tonight is off for the next two weeks. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 25, 2021 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Ransomware  Season 8, Ep 21

Two weeks left in the white void! The spread of the Delta variant of the Coronavirus continues to grow, helped by hordes of ideologically-driven parents threatening school boards over mask mandates. And Now: Pete Nelson From Treehouse Masters Really, Really Likes Trees. Main story: Ransomware (YouTube, 22 minutes), which is an epidemic of its own right now. How it started, what's happening now, and a couple of ways you can help protect yourself. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 17, 2021 - 7 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Sackler Family  Season 8, Ep 20

This week, from the white void (for three more weeks).... Andrew Cuomo tries to ride out the numerous sexual harassment allegations against him. Russia competes under another name in the Olympics, as the Russian Olympic Committee. And Now: The Electrifying Small Talk Of San Antonio's 'Daytime With Kimberly & Esteban.' Main story (Youtube, 24 minutes): While on the surface it appears that Purdue Pharmaceuticals is finally being duly punished for their role in the opioid epidemic, the plan under consideration lets the Sackler family that currently owns it off in many ways. The Sacklers have created a website. judgeforyourselves.info, to give their side of the story, but Last Week Tonight got the dot-com version, judgeforyourselves.com, to give a broader picture, featuring video of "Richard Sackler" (played by Richard Kind). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 9, 2021 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Emergency Medical Services  Season 8, Ep 19

This week: still in the void, for (perhaps) four more weeks. A crisis is developing over the fate of translators in Afghanistan, who are experiencing difficulties in obtaining visas to enter the US as troops withdraw, a life-or-death situation for them. And Now: Jim Cramer Loves Chipotle. Main story (22 minutes): about ambulence service in the US, often staffed by the underpaid, and yet are still frequently extremely expensive. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 2, 2021 - 8 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Housing Discrimination  Season 8, Ep 18

This week: another show from the void, but maybe not for much longer! The Tokyo Olympics proceed despite a spike in COVID cases, and the UK prepares to lift nearly all restrictions despite an uptick in cases over there. And Now: People On TV Mean "Fucking" (Olympics Edition). Main story (32 minutes): Housing Discrimination, its legacy in the US, how its effects are felt today, and what can be done to rectify it. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 26, 2021 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Health Care Sharing Ministries  Season 8, Ep 17

Another episode from the white void, will it be with us much longer? Senate Republicans rejecting a voting rights act, because awful. Republicans continue to push wildly incorrect voter fraud claims, including something stupidly called ItalyGate. And Now: On The Occasion Of His Departure From C-SPAN, One Last Salute To The Most Patient Man On Television. Main story (23 minutes): Health Care Sharing Ministries are a way that some use to get out of the penalties for not having health insurance in the US. But they are not insurance, are much less regulated, and in some places like Florida are crazy easy to set up. So easy that LWT did just that, in Florida, spinning off their old church Our Lady Of Perpetual Exemption, called Our Lady Of Perpetual Health, and their new "plan," JohnnyCare, to demonstrate how little health care an HCSM can get away with. Features the return of "Wanda Jo Oliver," John's "Mega Wife," (aka Rachel Dranch). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 29, 2021 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: PACE Loans  Season 8, Ep 16

Another entry from the void. Biden holds a summit with that notorious jokester, Vladimir Putin. Japan is set to host the Olympics in 2021, making up for their not being held in 2020, but still against the advice of many considering their vaccination rate is just 6%. Shown is a Japanese condom commercial with an anime styling. And Now: Please Enjoy Some Better Names For The Dogs From This Year's Westminster Dog Show. Main Story (22m): PACE loans, intended as a way for people to cheaply renovate houses for energy savings, are sometimes handed out by predatory contractors to people unaware of their costs and consequences, resulting in them losing their homes. And Now: The Winner Of Best In Show At The Westminster Dog Show Breaks Newscasters' Brains. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 21, 2021 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prison Heat  Season 8, Ep 15

From the white void once more. Ohio State House hosts a distraught lady worried that the vaccine turned her magnetic. The NYC Mayoral primary season is underway, using ranked choice voting for the first time. Interviews have revealed that the candidates are, for the most part, grossly out-of-touch concerning housing costs in Brooklyn. And Now: Someone Please Stop Stuart Varnet From Saying This ("Flattery is the mother's milk of television.") Main story (13m): As temperatures rise around the world, prisoners have to suffer extremely high temperatures, often in facilities that do not offer air conditioning, resulting in heat stroke and sometimes death, most frequently in Texas, but across the US as well. And Now: Ernie Anastos Left Fox 5 One Year Ago This Week, And We Miss His Man On The Street Segments More Than Ever. Finally, LWT offers a free commercial concept to any used car place that asks, under the condition that: they produce and air the piece, and that they must agree to use it sight-unseen. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 21, 2021 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Asian Americans  Season 8, Ep 14

Another week in the void. We hear about two right-wing leaders and their failed COVID responses, that of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, who let an offer by Pfizer of 70 million vaccine doses pass without response. And Now: People On TV Lose Their Shit Over The Phrase “Hot Vax Summer.” Main Story: The experiences of Asian Americans, often held up as a “model minority” by people who would like other minorities to see their problems as their own fault, when, to no surprise, the true story is a lot more complicated than tends to be recognized. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 9, 2021 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Sponsored Content  Season 8, Ep 13

This week once again comes to us from the White Void of Sad Facts. The Supreme Court is on track to review Roe vs. Wade, to the chagrin of practically every non-conservative. In Philadelphia, Larry Krasner, running in favor of police reform, won a primary for D.A. and is set to go against Republican Charles Peruto. Along those lines there is a brief recap of cartoon character candidates in the news, such as Andrew Giuliani. And Now: San Francisco City Council Meetings' Public Comments Are A Joy To Behold. The main story: sponsored content (21 minutes), specifically in local news programs, revenue source for local stations that, due to vague FCC rules that suffer from lax enforcement, often is insufficiently identified as paid programming. Many examples are given, including three that Last Week Tonight produced themselves and got placed for a mere few thousand dollars, for the "Venus Veil," a fake product that is the "world's first sexual wellness blanket." [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 24, 2021 - 10 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Stand Your Ground Laws  Season 8, Ep 12

This week, once again from the void... . Local governments try different ways to incentivize getting vaccinated against COVID, from lottery money to free fast food. And Now: Ari Melber, Rap Genius, Will Just Not Fucking Stop. The conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorists escalates, a conflict that, despite the both-sides, tit-for-tat framing the news media uses for it, greatly harms innocent Palestinians more than Israelis. The main story concerns Stand Your Ground laws (19m), an unnecessary set of laws passed in 22 states that removes the "duty to retreat" from armed confrontations, sometimes with disastrous consequences. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 17, 2021 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Personal Bankruptcy  Season 8, Ep 9

This week, again from the White Void of Sad Facts: the killings by police of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo, kicking off yet another cycle of media condemnation, right-wing defense of police, and criticism of righteous anger from protestors. To attempt to change their part in this terrible cycle, LWT did short pieces on blissfully stupid topics (see inside). And Now: The Commercials On FOX News In The Middle Of The Night Know Exactly Who They're Talking To. Main story (21m): Personal bankruptcy, a resource employed by millions of people, and has been often unduly stigmatized. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 19, 2021 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Long-Term Care  Season 8, Ep 8

Prince Philip died. Matt Gaetz continues to face accusations of pedophilia and sex trafficking. President Biden promised to reverse Trump's refugee cap, but hasn't yet, and no one seems to know why. And Now: A Farewell Tribute to the Greatest Questions Ever Asked on Yahoo! Answers. Main story (23m): Nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in the US, and the serious problems that many of they have. And Now: A Few More of the Greatest Questions Ever Asked on Yahoo! Answers.
posted by JHarris on Apr 12, 2021 - 8 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The US National Debt  Season 8, Ep 7

Another week from the White Void of Sad Facts. Right wing media loses their shit at a suggestive music video featuring Lil Nas X. Matt Gaetz is suspected of violating sex trafficing laws. A historic vote of whether to unionize has taken place among workers at an Amazon fulfillment center, which Amazon has fought in ludicrous ways, including anti-union propaganda in bathrooms. And Now: Some Very Unwelcome News Regarding Peeps. (It's the Peeps & Pepsi promotion.) Main story (22m): the US National Debt, and the massive disingenuousness with which it has been portrayed by Republicans. A lot of interesting information in this one! [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 5, 2021 - 9 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Plastic  Season 8, Ep 6

This week from the White Void of Sad Facts--The shootings in Atlanta of eight people, six of them Asian women, and the terrible response from police authorities. And Now: Even During A Pandemic, Local News Cannot Be Trusted With St. Patrick's Day. Main story (22m): plastic. Think we live in a golden age of recycling plastic? Think again: less than 9% of plastic made gets recycled, and over half of all plastic ever produced was made since 2005. How did we get to this point, when plastic recycling has been promoted for decades? [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 22, 2021 - 7 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Tucker Carlson  Season 8, Ep 5

The passing of the Coronavirus stimulus bill was met with a weird celebratory tweet from the DNC, but Republican responses ranging from anger and dismay to people who voted no trying to take credit for it. And Now: Local News Bothers 100-Year-Old Women On Their Birthdays. Main story (25m): Tucker Carlson, his career, and how he gives white supremacist talking points a veneer of respectability. And Now: A Look Back At One Year Of TV News With Pandemic Precautions.
posted by JHarris on Mar 18, 2021 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Unemployment  Season 8, Ep 4

This week from the white void: The Democrats pass the COVID relief bill, although a few (like Manchin and Sinema) prevented it from containing a minimum wage increase. The FBI identifies Trump-supporting white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys as the ones who stormed the Capitol building. And Now: Neil Cavuto Really Loves Adele. Main story (21m): Unemployment in the US, and how terribly it serves people in need. And Now: Rachel Ray's Complicated History With Baking. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 9, 2021 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Police Raids  Season 8, Ep 3

This week: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo faces a Federal investigation for intentionally under-reportng nursing home deaths due to COVID, reportedly having threatened to end a state senator's career over it. And Now: Did Fox Business's Liz Claman Mention That She Likes Peloton? Then the main story (26m): Police raids, a tool that law enforcement arguably relies on way, way too often, and disproportionately against minorities. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 1, 2021 - 0 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Working Conditions in Meat Packing Factories  Season 8, Ep 2

This week, again from the White Void of Sad Facts: Winter storms caused problems nationwide, but especially in Texas, which suffered power outages due to Texas disconnecting itself from the national power grid to avoid regulation, or, according to Tucker Carlson and the rest of Fox News, wind turbines. Fallout was so severe that Ted Cruz, a man who has given Texas dozens of reasons to dump him, may actually, finally, face political repercussions for attempting to abandon the state during its hardship and go to Cancun. And Now: People Who Went to Harvard. The main story (19m) has to do with the terrible conditions meat packing workers face on the job, including production quotas so onerous that many workers feel like they have to pee beneath the line or wear diapers on the job to keep up. And Now, finally: Working Remotely Sucks For 'The People's Court," too. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 22, 2021 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Future Pandemics  Season 8, Ep 1

This week, still from the void, but hopefully not for much longer.... The farce of an impeachment trial against Donald Trump, where Ted Cruz met with the defense lawyers during it and told them they'd already won because Republicans weren't going to convict regardless, and on Republican support of the Capitol riots and state Republican efforts to make voting much harder, efforts that some Democrats don't seem very excited about thwarting. And Now: Newscasters Offer Tips For How To Say "I Love You" In The Worst Imaginable Way. Main story (20m): Pandemics of the future! Not COVID, but the next ones, which believe it or not could be much worse. John discusses where they may come from, why they're on the rise, and what we can do to limit them. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 18, 2021 - 4 comments

Podcast: The Bugle: Spready Mercury

Well isn't this exciting! After nearly five years John Oliver returns to The Bugle for a bumper edition!
posted by Pendragon on Dec 21, 2020 - 10 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Trump & Election Results  Season 7, Ep 30

This week, it's one more installment from the White Void of Sad Facts. The main story is about Trump's refusal to concede the election and the webs of conspiracy theories he, his supporters and right-wing media have woven to claim that there was massive voter fraud. On YouTube (18m) And Now: 2020 Bingo. Finally... John Oliver takes a FaceTime call from Adam Driver. Uh-oh.... We find out what's outside the White Void! And we get some vengenance against the hellish, hateful year we're now nearing the end of. On YouTube (11m) This is the final episode of Season 7 of Last Week Tonight. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 16, 2020 - 12 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: US Election 2020  Season 7, Ep 29

This week, the white void is a cheerier place. Launching in with the main story, the 2020 Election, and Joe Biden's election to US President, denying Donald Trump a second term. We take some time to celebrate that (including 30 seconds of awesome octopus facts). On YouTube (27m) And Now: At The End Of A Long, Exhausting Week: Dumps. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 9, 2020 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Trump's Handling of COVID and William Barr  Season 4, Ep 28

This week, from the white void, two main stories tonight, focusing of two different aspects of the Trump presidency. #1: the Coronavirus. Bewilderingly, a lot of US Americans seem to think Trump has handled it the best he could. LWT identifies three crucial areas he definitely didn't: Preparation, Coordination and Communication. First main story, on YouTube (21m) #2: Trump's Attorney General William Barr, hailed as a responsible figure when brought on, but quickly revealed himself to be a kind of ultra-toady. Second main story, on YouTube (19m) Other items-- And Now: Our Annual Look At What Happens When Local News and Halloween Collide, and, And Now: Public Officials Prepare Children For A COVID Halloween." Playing the show out is a clip of Attorney General Bill Barr playing the bagpipes. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 2, 2020 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Asylum  Season 7, Ep 27

This week from the white void. Trump is beset with October Surprises (contracting COVID, news finally breaks about his tax avoidance, and we find out he had a previously-unknown bank account in China), although his supporters think Hunter Biden's laptop is a thing, entirely because Fox News keeps telling them it is. Trump gets a pass from the press on the final debate because he acted like less of a loon than usual. And Now: The Movie Taste of People On CNBC Is Exactly What You Think It Is. Main story: Immigration, specifically, how the Trump administration has been extraordinarily cruel to asylum seekers trying to enter the US. On YouTube (21m) And Now: Like We Said, The Movie Taste Of People On CNBC Is Exactly What You Think It is.
posted by JHarris on Oct 26, 2020 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The World Health Organization  Season 7, Ep 26

Main story: the World Health Organization, Trump's stupid blaming them for the pandemic, and his decision to pull the U.S. out of it, which takes effect in July if nothing else changes (say in two weeks), and which could have huge consequences. It has 194 member states, nearly every country on Earth, but not the US if Trump's plans are not thwarted. On YouTube (19m) And Now: There's An Old Saying In Politics. Finally an update on Danbury, Connecticut, which is naming a sewage plant after John Oliver in exchange for donations to local food banks. At the end is the show's first location piece since the pandemic began (don't worry, John Oliver was wearing protection). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 19, 2020 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Election 2020  Season 7, Ep 25

This week, again from the White Void of Sad Facts: Trump comes down with COVID-19 in an epic display of poetic justice. And Now: Newscasters Trying To Have Fun With What Month It Is. The main story is the election, now coming in less than a month. Remember: in most states, you don't have to vote on election day or rely on the mail to count your ballot, you can vote at home and hand it to your registrar. Go to canivote.org for information on how to vote in your state, perhaps doing so early to take pressure off of voting systems. And Now: People Miss A Lot Of Things Due To The Pandemic. Finally, museums are experiencing significant issues during the pandemic, with around a third of them expected to close forever. To attempt to help them out, Last Week Tonight is offering to donate money to museums that sponsor their tour of paintings, including the rat erotica they bought, Lisa Kudlow's tie paintings, and a painting of Wendy Williams enjoying a lamb chop. Direct queries to john[at]johnoliverhasyourraterotica[dot]com. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 6, 2020 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Supreme Court  Season 7, Ep 24

This week, again in the white void: A grand jury declined to indict the perpetrators over the death of Breonna Taylor, heaping more fuel onto the Black Lives Matter protests. Main story: the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, giving Republicans a third Supreme Court pick during Trump's term, largely and ultimately due to the machinations of "mule piss" Mitch McConnell and the weird anti-democratic games the US system plays to preserve power to the powerful. And Now: An Unexpected Update Regarding Peeps. Finally, the Census, and the importance for US residents to fill it out. 14 million households haven't yet despite its tremendous importance to our systems to have an accurate count of people. You can complete it, probably in just a couple of minutes, at my2020census.gov. To help encouraage viewers to do that, the show played a couple of minutes of the audiobook version of Sean Penn's novel Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff (hoo boy), to drive people away in order to do this essential thing. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 29, 2020 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: RNC 2020 & Kenosha  Season 7, Ep 23

This week, from the void: The RNC convention is filled with tonedeaf shouting people who think the world is great and only getting better! But also there's the recent horrors in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with Jacob Blake being repeatedly shot in the back by police and a teenage vigilante killing two people. On YouTube (20m) And Now: The RNC Gets Off To A Great Start. Finally, the city of Danbury, Connecticut responds to John Oliver's playful dissing of their town, up to their mayor threatening to name their new sewage plant after him. But they didn't actually do it, leading John to make a promise: name their sewage plant after him, and he'll donate $55,000 to various charities in the Danbury area. And in case the major is reluctant to spend public money on the sign, LWT went ahead and made one for them. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 31, 2020 - 9 comments

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