175 posts tagged with lastweektonight.
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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 - 11 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

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Border Wall, Revisited  Season 7, Ep 22

This week, again from the void: The Democrats' "unconventional convention," and their decision to give a significant amount of speaking time to Republicans. The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee issued a report that Trump's 2016 campaign had repeated contacts with Russian operatives, more news for who's saying it than what was said. And Now: Yes, It's Still August, But Guess Who's Back? (Pumpkin spice, the go-to autumn conversation topic of newscasters nationwide.) Main story: Remember the border wall? In the home stretch of Trump's first (and hopefully only) term, how has that gone? Not well at all. On YouTube (23m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 25, 2020 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Juries  Season 7, Ep 21

This week, from the void: Biden picks Kamala Harris as running mate, prompting the usual stupid attacks from right-wing media and President Trump. Marjorie Green may well become the first QAnon-believing member of Congress, making the world even dumber. And Now: Larry King, Master Salesman. Main story: Juries, and how the system is stacked against black jurors despite it being technically illegal to do so. YouTube (21m) And Now: Jim Cramer's Fun-Time Quarantine Activity Makes You Sad. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 17, 2020 - 9 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: U.S. History  Season 7, Ep 20

This week, from the white void: Coronavirus spreads like crazy due to idiotic mass gatherings by US Americans, enabled by powerful idiots who refuse to take it seriously. And Now: For An Extra $150, Steve Gutenberg Brainstorms Names For Our Co-Worker's New Dog. The main story is on U.S. history, and many US Americans' ignorance of it, especially its history of slavery. On YouTube (28m) LWT is off next week. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 3, 2020 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: China & Uighurs  Season 7, Ep 19

This week, again from the void (but with a glass desk now): the protests in Portland over the death of George Floyd escalate sharply as Donald Trump sends in anonymous federal agents in unmarked vans to kidnap protesters off the streets, dear god. And Now: Martha Stewart Loosens Up During The Lockdown. Main Story: the Uighurs, an ethnic minority in China whose culture that nation is trying to destroy. And Now: We Promise You These People Are Not Saying "Masturbate." [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 27, 2020 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Conspiracy Theories  Season 7, Ep 18

This week, from the void: many administration and state officials want to reopen the country as quickly as possible despite how stupid that is. And Now: Parents On Television Just Want One Thing (to send kids back to school). Main story concerns conspiracy theories, those things that tons of people believe in, are wantonly spread by Facebook and YouTube, and that are argubly tearing the world apart. On YouTube (22m) To help convince people to stop believing so much bullshit, Last Week Tonight asked several celebrities (Alex Trebek, John Cena, Paul Rudd, Catherine O'Hara and Billy Porter) to make videos asking people to think more critically about what they read on the internet, and put them up at thetruetruetruth.com. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 20, 2020 - 10 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Coronavirus and Evictions  Season 7, Ep 17

This week, again from the White Void: Mike Pence gave a speech that seems to indicate that we had done enough to slow the Coronavirus epidemic, an amazingly stupid take, and the very states that have been most aggressive about reopening have been the ones to suffer from the highest spikes in new cases. Main story: evictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening to turn the health crisis into a homelessness crisis. On YouTube (19m) And Now: The Citizens of Palm Beach County, Florida, Have Some Thoughts On Mandatory Face Masks (Warning: extreme entitlement). Finally, John "Papa John" Schnatter, rich white man and founder of the pizza chain, has become a highly undeserving Instagram star in an attempt to rehabilitate his image, and is as potent an argument against obscene wealth as anything on this Earth. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 30, 2020 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Coronavirus in Prisons  Season 7, Ep 16

This week (another void episode): After a quick recap of Trump's first rally since the pandemic hit (not a lot of people showed up) and Juneteenth, we go right in to the main story, the Coronavirus, "that thing you regularly have to convince your parents still exists." Specifically, about a surge in cases in prisons, in some cases up to 80% of their residents having contracted it. On YouTube (28m) And Now: A Father's Day Tribute to the World's Greatest Dad. (It's Trump. They're being sarcastic.) And a final piece on fancams, for the old people out there, "short montages of a performer that you like set to music." Which performer? Any performer. The point is, however, K-Pop stars are deploying fancams to fight the white supremacy hashtag [hash]whitelivesmatter, and support tags like #protecttheprotestors. They have also overwhelmed an app police published for people to use to report protestors with irrelevant images. LWT made their own rat-erotica-K-Pop-fancam for use in signal jamming; it's available from (takes a deep breath as I prepare to type this) rateroticafancam.com. Another proud member of the HBO family of websites! [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 22, 2020 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Facial Recognition  Season 7, Ep 15

This week (again from the White Void): protests over the brutal police killing of George Floyd continue, Tucker Carlson gripes about puppets telling kids about racism, and Minneapolis votes to abolish their police department while New York criminalizes the use by police of chokeholds like the one that killed George Floyd. Statues of slave traders the world over have been toppled, wrecked or defaced, but police unions continue to angrily justify the status quo. (There's a lot of infuriating material in this section.) And Now: C-Span Callers Have Some Thoughts On The Coronavirus For The Second Most Patient Man On Television. Main Story is on the use of technology for facial recognition, and, ominously, its increased use by law enforcement, especially as provided by a company called Clearview AI. On YouTube (21m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 16, 2020 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Police  Season 7, Ep 14

This week: it's a strange episode, even from among those coming from the White Void of Sad Facts, as the entire show is about the protests over the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police, and the police reaction to them. In the words of John Oliver, "If police are trying to convince the public that they're not guilty of displaying excessive force, it's probably not a good idea to repeatedly display excessive force on national television[...]" Instead of listening to me summarize it, you can watch the entire episode on YouTube (33 minutes). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 8, 2020 - 9 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Voting By Mail  Season 7, Ep 13

This week: another installment from the white void. Protests over the death of George Floyd, and the terrible take on it from Tucker Carlson. This week's main story is about mail-in voting which Trump incorrectly says is "corrupt," and its dire importance during the pandemic. To help encourage people to vote by mail and be safe, Last Week Tonight reminds us that their stamps are still available at stamps.com/laststamptonight, and they have also made available some "I voted!" stickers with a mail-in ballot theme, which you can get from ivotedbymail.com. And Now: TV Hosts Want to Know: What's That Behind You? On YouTube (19m) Finally, on the UFC, who had been planning on holding fights on what they had called "Fight Island." Two weeks ago John Oliver had suggested a much better name would be UF-SEA. It looks like UFC agreed; they filed a trademark on that name two days after it aired, and in a Sportscenter interview the head of UFC admitted he got the idea from John. You can also buy a baby onsie with the expired UFC trademark phrase "You Will Submit," at tugslabmeatsbabypalace.com. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 1, 2020 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Coronavirus: Sports  Season 7, Ep 12

This week: Another episde from the Void. Rick Bright became a whistleblower into Trump's Coronavirus response, while Trump dissipated his energies unveiling the "Space Force" flag. There is a scandal around North Carolina Senator Richard Burr for profiting off of non-public Coronavirus briefings back in February. And Now: Rachael Ray Is Doing Her Best With Her New, One-Man Production Crew. Main story: Sports, why shutting them down for a while was the right thing to do, and what they've been doing in the meantime, some of which is actually fairly positive! Although some are fairly sucky, with the drive to earn profits overruling some team owners and even schools' desire to keep their players healthy. Which brings us... to Last Week's Tonight's newly-announced sponsorship of Marble League 2020, Jelle's Marble Runs (the producers of Marbula One) Olympics-like marble sports competition! On YouTube (22m) LWT is off next week. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 18, 2020 - 9 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The U.S. Postal Service  Season 7, Ep 11

This week, from the Blank White Void: Someone flushed a toiled during oral arguments in a remote Supreme Court conference. Justice Department head and apologist for power William Barr seeks to throw out case against Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI, not even trying to cover up that it's nakedly an abuse of his position. [internal screaming] Trump flubs a photo-op by touring a mask factory without wearing one, and seems to be trying to convince the US to open up despite the additional deaths it would cause, while also shutting down CDC guidelines as to how businesses could best do that safely. And Now: FOX 4 Dallas's Steve Eagar Reads Viewer's Complaints Out Loud. Main story: the U.S. Postal Service and the issues, in terms of safety and budgetary, it faces during the Coronavirus crisis. YouTube The episode mentions that, while it will not go anywhere near meeting the USPS's $90B shortfall, you can at least help out a little by buying stamps, such as the ones they themselves have produced through stamps.com, at stamps.com/laststamptonight, available through June 15. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 11, 2020 - 1 comment

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Cononavirus Testing  Season 7, Ep 10

This week: the show once again comes to us from the Blank White Void of Sad Facts. Alex Jones solemnly states on air "I'll admit it... I will eat my neighbors." The Coronavirus has, in three months, killed more Americans than the entire Vietnam War yet with no end in site, yet Jared Kushner essentially declared victory over it on Fox News. Ubiquitious testing is our only real way out of this problem, with current testing levels falling far short of what is needed despite having had months to improve the situation, so the main story tonight is: what happened? On YouTube (23m) And Now: Even During a Pandemic, Florida Just Can't Help But Be Florida. Finally, for some reason cats seem to love Last Week Tonight, so they decided to pander to them with a short spin-off show, "Cat Week Tonight." Contains Martin Sheen. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 5, 2020 - 16 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Coronavirus V: Misinformation Edition  Season 7, Ep 9

This week, we launch right in with the main story: the misinformation on COVID-19 that's been going around, and the places people have been getting it from. On YouTube (21m). And Now: An All-Coronavirus Installment of Coming Up On "Inside Edition." Finally, talk-show host Wendy Williams and her at-home adventures. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 20, 2020 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Coronavirus IV  Season 7, Ep 8

This week, coming to you once again from the Blank White Void of Sad Facts... we launch right in with the main story, regarding two groups harmed greatly by social isolation: the unemployed, and essential workers who cannot work for home and are particularly at risk. On YouTube. And Now: In Honor of Easter, Our Annual Fuck You to Peeps. Finally, good news: zoos letting animals visit other animals and aquariums, the Queen of England giving a speech to the nation while wearing a chromakey-friendly green dress, and success in the search for for that painting of cartoon rat erotica John Oliver was looking for two weeks ago! Also: Here's The Late Show with Steven Colbert's interview-from-home with John Oliver from a week ago. Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 14, 2020 - 7 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: One America News Network  Season 7, Ep 7

This week... although this is another episode coming to us from the Blank White Void of Sad Facts, the main story is not the Coronavirus, although it, and the Trump administration's continued bungling of the response to it, does lead. And Now: Are You Wearing Pants? The main story is on OAN, "One America News," aka "Fox News with even less shame and even fewer scruples." [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 6, 2020 - 10 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Coronavirus III  Season 7, Ep 6

This week... main story: The Coronavirus pandemic, how some on the right seem willing to reopen the country to help the economy despite it meaning the deaths of hundreds of thousands more, and the many ways Trump has flubbed the nation's response, including getting visibly angry at reporters doing their jobs questioning him about his statement that he wants to reopen the country by Easter RGRGHA%$%&$@ sorry I can't even. It's on YouTube. And Now: Yes, We Are Still Doing These. And Now: Hey, Look! We're Social Distancing. And finally, South-Central Pennsylvania's Gallery Thirty-Three video art auction from 1992, and the work of a certain Brian Swords of York, aka Biohazard. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 30, 2020 - 20 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: More Coronavirus  Season 7, Ep 5

This week: coming to you from the EMPTY WHITE VOID, Last Week Tonight, like many shows, is doing without a live audience for the length of the epidemic, not just to help slow transmission of Coronavirus but because their usual studios, CBS Broadcasting Center in New York, had confirmed cases. The whole show is about the pandemic, the media and Trump administration's handling of it, and what you personally can do to slow the spread of the disease, which includes not spreading stupid misinformation of the type being broadcast on Fox News. The show was unclear when the next episode would air. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 16, 2020 - 12 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Sheriffs  Season 7, Ep 4

This week's main story is on US sheriffs, how they often have huge amounts of power on a local level, and how many of them are ridiculous. Rob Corddry appears playing "Sheriff Scott Wilkerson," who in his words, "has never met a frog he didn't kill." [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 9, 2020 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Coronavirus  Season 7, Ep 3

The Coronovirus, the speed of its spread, nationwide panic caused by it and the mishandling of it around the world, including by Trump. And Now: Chris Matthews Just Cannot Seem To Nail His Sign-Off. And what could be the unpfortunate pfinal days of the Phillie Phanatic. #respecttheconicalhonker [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 2, 2020 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Narendra Modi  Season 7, Ep 2

A tiny Trump intro, Mike Bloomberg's attempts to buy a candidacy, Larry King weirdness, and the religious fundamentalism and nationalism of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his circle. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 23, 2020 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Medicare For All  Season 7, Ep 1

The first episode of Season Seven. Republicans claiming Trump's impeachment "changed him" (hint: it absolutely didn't), US Prosecutors steping down in protest over Trump's terrifying interference with the Roger Stone case, And Now: Another Installment of "Coming Up On 'The Doctors'," and the main story: Medicare for All, not the politics of whether it can pass, but what it is. Psst! You want a link to a metric TON of LWT clips? CLICK THROUGH FOR OVERKILL-- [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 17, 2020 - 8 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Impeachment  Season 6, Ep 15

Episode 6-15 was about the U.S. process of presidential impeachment, the means provided by its Constitution to remove a sitting President from office. But impeachment itself doesn't imply the process will be successful--Clinton was infamously impeached. To this day the process has never been successfully used to unseat a president. What would it entail, and what are the pros and cons of impeaching Donald Trump? On YouTube (20m)
posted by JHarris on Jun 23, 2019 - 0 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Equal Rights Amendment  Season 6, Ep 14

Ep 6-14 was on the Equal Rights Amendment, which infamous got all the way up to the finish line but stopped just short of being ratified by enough states, and because of it sex discrimination is not unconstitutional. What is it, and why did it stall out? Here's the piece on YouTube (16m).
posted by JHarris on Jun 23, 2019 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Medical Devices  Season 6, Ep 13

This week's topic is medical devices, specifically those made to be implanted in the human body, and how there's much less FDA oversight of the development and sales of these devices than one would think. There is a real and huge difference between the phrases FDA Approved and FDA Cleared, as many have recently discovered. The segment is on YouTube (19m).
posted by JHarris on Jun 3, 2019 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Death Investigations  Season 6, Ep 12

This week's topic is on the subject of the folk who's job it is to examine dead bodies in forensic autopsies, coroners and medical examiners, jobs that are often woefully underfunded and ill-equipped, and in the case of coroners, doesn't even require a medical license or degree to perform, often being an elected position. Cases of abuse and incompetence are rife, and we've known this since 1857. Here it is on Youtube (22m). Also covered is a group entered in the Eurovision contest, Hatari, who are, in their own words, an "Islandic Award-Winning Anti-Capitalist Techno Performance BDSM Band." LWT is off next week.
posted by JHarris on May 21, 2019 - 10 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Green New Deal  Season 6, Ep 11

This week's main topic is the Green New Deal, a piece of legislation the right endlessly maligns despite the fact it was defeated in the Senate weeks ago. According to Fox News, the bill takes away hamburgers, airplanes and cars, despite the fact that it's a non-binding piece of legislation. What's really in the Green New Deal? The main story is on YouTube (19m).
posted by JHarris on May 13, 2019 - 7 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Lethal Injection  Season 6, Ep 10

This week's main story is about capital punishment, how there is absolutely no way to do it humanely, and the suffering perpetrated in its name. It's on YouTube. (19m) LWT added another site to its growing list, at Wikileaksorwhatever.com.
posted by JHarris on May 6, 2019 - 7 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Muller Report & Chiitan  Season 6, Ep 9

There are two topics covered at roughly equal length this week. The first is the long-awaited release of the Mueller Report, the contents of which reveal things that are entirely insane. On YouTube (15m). The other, almost as insane, is the story of Chiitan (TWITTER), an unofficial mascot for the Japanese city of Susaki. The behavior of Chiitan, a cartoon otter with a turtle on its head, was random, bizarre and violent, and so was asked to stop, by the city Susaki, associating with its official mascot, Shinjo-Kun (INSTAGRAM). But where some ways part, others join, so LWT sent one of their own mascots, Chii-john, a cute otter version of John Oliver, to Susaki to be Shinjo-Kun's new friend.
posted by JHarris on Apr 22, 2019 - 7 comments

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

The main subject was a return to the opioid crisis, and the role of big pharmaceutical companies in causing it. Specifically one Richard Sackler, who pushed Purdue Pharma into heavily marketing Oxycontin. LWT created the website Sackler Gallery, which features a number of actors reading transcripts of court appearances by Sackler. On YouTube (21m). Other topics: Brexit gets pushed back to Halloween, and Julian Assange was thrown out of Ecuadorian embassy and brought into police custody for extradition.
posted by JHarris on Apr 21, 2019 - 0 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mobile Homes  Season 6, Ep 7

Main subject: Mobile homes, and the scarfing up of trailer park property by investment groups like the Carlyle Group, who can then raise rents with impunity and force owners with newly-immobile homes to pay it or else abandon their property. On YouTube. (16m) Other topics: Trump's nominations of Herman Cain and Steven Moore to the Federal Reserve Board (with clips from Oliver's hilarious series of Daily Show interviews with Cain) and the corruption of Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh.
posted by JHarris on Apr 15, 2019 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The WWE  Season 6, Ep 6

Main subject: The unwillingness of the WWE to support its wrestlers even as a lifetime of performances leaves them broken and often to an early death. On YouTube. (23m) Other topics included the submission of the Mueller Report and Barr's summary of it.
posted by JHarris on Apr 15, 2019 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Public Shaming  Season 6, Ep 5

Main subject: Public shaming culture and how it can be taken too far. On YouTube. (27m) Also covered: the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand, and the (awesome) boy who eggs (literally) Austrialia's (awful) right-wing senator Fraser Anning, and Brexit.
posted by JHarris on Apr 14, 2019 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Robocalls  Season 6, Ep 4

Episode subject: Robocalls, their ubiquity, and how they're actually getting worse. Main story on YouTube (18m). Also covers Brasil far-right president Bolsonaro attacking Carnival for debauchery, by promoting a video obstensibly showing a man peeing on another. LWT simulated the video by showing a clip from the YouTube channel Squirting Mustard. That channel posted a thank-you response.
posted by JHarris on Apr 14, 2019 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Automation  Season 6, Ep 3

The main story is on Automation, a fundamental aspect of industry that has been with us since the dawn of the industrial age, but which doesn't often get talked about in a nuanced manner. Are our jobs vulnerable to it or will it result in new jobs, and how should we react? The main story is available to watch on YouTube.
posted by JHarris on Mar 13, 2019 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Psychics  Season 6, Ep 2

You might not think much about psychics these days, but they're still all over the place, on daytime talk and "reality" shows especially. LWT takes a look at how they continue to bilk people. The main story is on YouTube.
posted by JHarris on Mar 11, 2019 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Brexit III  Season 6, Ep 1

The episode of Last Week Tonight that aired three weeks ago was about the continuing situation of Brexit, a cliff the UK is bound and determined to drive off of because of leadership. The main story is on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 11, 2019 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Draining the Swamp  Season 5, Ep 29

This week (yes, a timely LWT post!):
  • The Republicans lose the US House of Representatives, an act which Trump actually said was "close to a complete victory" for him. Also, businessman Danny Darkanian loses his sixth straight election in Nevada, annoying his wife greatly. And three states voted to expand Medicaid, Flordia voted to restore voting rights to felons, and Utah voted to legalize medical marihuana.
  • Update in Stupid Watergate: Trump fires Jeff Sessions and replaces him, as acting head of the Justice Department, with Matthew Whitaker, a man known for many stupid things, foremost among them serving as an advisor to a company that had to pay out a $25M judgement for scamming inventors.
  • And Now: Steve Bannon's Election Night Coverage Went Just Great
  • Main Story: Donald Trump (again), and his campaign promise to "drain the swamp." A noble sentiment, but, predictably, absolutely the opposite of what he's doing. Here's the piece on YouTube.
  • And Now: Monday Night Football's Graphics Are Officially Out Of Hand
  • Finally, an epidemic of unnotified promotion of products by influencers on social media has been going on, including DJ Khaled hawking alcohol to millions of followers. To help illustrate, LWT reveals something they've been doing (not been getting paid for it, but doing it anyway) concerning Scientology....
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 12, 2018 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Family Separation  Season 5, Ep 28

This week....
  • 2018 Midterms, which has been exceptional in negativity. California Congressman Duncan Hunter accused opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar of being a terrorist trying to infiltrate Congress; Iowa Congressman Steve King, who has been notorious for associating with white nationalists and got pissy when confronted about it before cameras, and lost the support of a number of corporate PACs; and in Nebraska's 1st district a sign promoting Jeff Fortenberry was defaced with googly eyes and changed to read Jeff Fartenberry, causing his Chief-of-Staff to accuse a local professor, who was unlucky enough to have "liked" a Facebook photo of the sign within his random notice, of supporting vandalism.
  • And Now: Out Annual Check-In With The Consequences Of Combining Local News Shows And Halloween
  • Main story: Immigration, "The system that brought you me, but it's still good, and I promise that won't happen again." Specifically, the Trump administration's family separation policy. It's faded from the news, but its consequences have not ended yet. Content warning: horrifying consequences of the enforced separation of children from their parents. YouTube
  • And Now: Halloween Part II: Just The Traffic And Weather
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 4, 2018 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: State Attorneys General  Season 5, Ep 27

That week....
  • Violence marred the prior week, and Fox News went out of their way to position the attacks as "false flag" operations, supposedly stages by Democrats to make Republicans look bad. Geraldo Riviera "outsmarts himself" in making such allegations.
  • Saudi Arabia continues to try to explain the disappearance, likely murder, of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, while President Trump and right-wing figures try to downplay the killing of an American resident.
  • Main story: the role of state Attorneys General on our nation, their role in investigating wrongdoing, and the increasing degree to which the offices have become politicized. YouTube
  • Special productions: A WWE commercial that properly notes the fact that it takes place in Saudi Arabia, and the problems that causes; a concert for bagpipes, accordion, theremin and recorder (multiple, played by young children) to annoy people to stepping away from their TV sets and actually researching their states' candidates for Attorney General. A good place to do that, they note, is at Vote411.org.
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posted by JHarris on Nov 4, 2018 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh  Season 5, Ep 24

This week (after a gap of some episodes, sorry about that), after an introduction acknowledging Trump's embarrassing UN conference and the Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty, the whole show was devoted to the main story, Brett Kavanaugh's looming confirmation, and the terrible implications if he is confirmed. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 30, 2018 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Sexual Harassment, Interview with Anita Hill  Season 5, Ep 18

This episode aired on July 29:
  • More Stupid Watergate, "Something with the potential gravity of Watergate, if the entire White House was on bath salts and Nixon was a raccoon with his head stuck in a jar of peanut butter." Revealed is that Cohen secretly taped interactions between him and Trump, and some of one of the tapes was leaked, relating them planning to keep a story about Trump's affair with Playboy Bunny Karen McDougal secret. Also, Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of the meeting with Russian representatives in Trump Tower. And, Mueller is looking into whether Trump's tweets constitute obstruction of justice.
  • Facebook loses $119 billion dollars of value, 19% of its total valuation, overnight. That's more than the value of the entire global cheese market: Facebook's stock dropped by the concept of cheese. It's because of piracy issues, which they've apologized for via an ubiquitous ad. LWT provides one of their trademark more honest versions.
  • Main story: Workplace sexual harassment. In the wake of a number of prominent male executives being brought down, it's looking like something may finally be done about it... except that the current situation shares a lot of things in common with the 90s, at which time everything was supposed to change, and then, didn't. The issue became national news with the testimony of Anita Hill before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • The last act was a great interview with Anita Hill herself.
Both the main story and the interview are on the show's official Youtube channel. (29m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 13, 2018 - 1 comment

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