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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Dollar Stores  Season 10, Ep 18

This week.... Fox Business asks Fabio for opinions on the Israel-Hamas war. The House passes a bill to prevent a government shutdown before the end of the year, but was also marked by multiple congresspeople insulting and even threatening each other. And Now: You'll Never Guess Where Fox's Pete Hegseth Went To College. (Princeton) Main story: Dollar stores, specifically Dollar General and Dollar Tree (which also owns Family Dollar), and how terribly they treat their employees. Dollar General has been called the worst retail job in America. Often a single employee runs the entire store at a given moment. The median Dollar General employee makes $18,352 a year. The piece finishes up with a trademark fake promo for a store called "Dollar Bucket." On Youtube. (22 minutes) Finally, an update on the New Zealand Bird of the Century poll, their sponsored bird, the pūteketeke, won the poll with over 22 times the votes that the second-place finisher, the kiwi, got. The organization that ran the poll was Forest & Bird, who are selling metal sculptures of the winning bird (with a removable John Oliver that can ride on its back) at the site metalbird.com. Last Week Tonight is off next week.
posted by JHarris on Nov 20, 2023 - 9 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Israel-Hamas War  Season 10, Ep 17

This week... the main story is about the Israel-Hamas war, specifically about their leaders, "how they came to power, whose interests they do and don't represent, and what role they played in bringing us to this current conflict." Hamas undermined the efforts of the previous poltical party Fatah, which had been pursuing peace; and Netanhayu is currently widely reviled within Israel by those who blame him for the security lapses that allowed Hamas to attack, but has long had other very troubling issues, and currently presides over the most right-wing government in Israel's history. (On Youtube, 32 minutes) And Now: Rachel Campos-Duffy Really, Really Needs You To Know That Her Husband Was Once In Congress. Concluding the episode is an update over the New Zealand Bird of the Century election. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 14, 2023 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Abortion Rights   Season 10, Ep 16

This week... Ron DeSantis claims he doesn't wear lifts in his shoes. Main story: the fight to preserve abortion access in US states. "[...A] truly horrible thing to have to add to the list of things that pregnant women are not safe to do. So it's now officially: ride a roller coaster, eat sushi, dye your roots, and simply exist in the State of Texas." It's on Youtube (23 minutes). And Now: It Was Halloween, And Local TV Hosts Did What They Always Do. And finally, New Zealand is having a poll to decide their "Bird of the Century," and Last Week Tonight is waging an "alarmingly aggressive" campaign on behalf of the Pūteketeke, a.k.a. the Australasian crested grebe. The website of their campaign is here. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 7, 2023 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Chocolate  Season 10, Ep 15

This week, on Not-Bill-Maher.... Republicans choose Mike Johnson to be Speaker of the House. Argentina failed to elect a President last week, with one of the two front-runners being Javier Milei, a self-described "anarcho-capitalist," but described as John Oliver as "a lot," and "a politician who workshops his ideas with his four dog." (not a typo) And Now: Dagen McDowell Seems Like She Was A Fun Kid. Main story: Chocolate. And the show is up front: "Are you going to make this weird for me?" Yep. Because the great majority of farmers who grow cocoa do not share in the profits of this $140 billion dollar industry. 60% of cocoa comes from Ivory Coast and Ghana, where most farmers live in extreme poverty. (On Youtube, 23 minutes) And Now: Local Law Enforcement Agencies Go All Out With Their Halloween Safety PSAs. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 30, 2023 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: McKinsey  Season 10, Ep 14

This week... things that continue: the hostage situation in Gaza, the US House continues failing to elect a new Speaker, and New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez facing corruption charges. And Now: Some Things That Turn Stuart Varney On. The main story is management consultants McKinsey & Company, a gigantic organization that advises huge corporations and government agencies alike. They have a pretty high opinion of themselves, while keeping a low profile. "They are, without question, the go-to consultants for managers seeking justification for savage cost cutting[...]as well as a convenient scapegoat on which to blame it." (Duff McDonald, The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence) The episode finishes with a LWT-made "commercial" for McKinsey, who are "capable of anything, and culpable for nothing." The McKinsey segment is on Youtube. (27 minutes) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 23, 2023 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Food Safety and the FDA  Season 10, Ep 13

This week... a cold open about the situation in Gaza. The US House voted out Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and replacing him won't be easy. And Now: Jim Cramer Is Totally Untroubled By His Haters. The main story (Youtube, 20 minutes) involves food safety and the failings of the Food & Drug Administration in ensuring it. And Now: Check Out The Sexual Tension Between Fox Business' Liz Claman And Charlie Gasparino. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 16, 2023 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Homeschooling  Season 10, Ep 12

This week.... Kevin McCarthy is dumped as US Speaker of the House, and there are a number of troubling things about Franklin, Tennessee mayoral candidate and MAGA supporter Gabrielle Hanson. And Now: People On TV Share Increasingly Unhinged Conspiracy Theories About Taylor Swift. The main story has to do with homeschooling, which is rarely regulated due in large part to the efforts of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDS), the "NRA of homeschooling." (On Youtube, 25 minutes) And Now: The Surprising Importance of Emojis on 'Divorce Court.'💦🍆🥒🍑 [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 9, 2023 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prison Health Care  Season 10, Ep 11

This week... the writer's strike is over, and it was successful! The show's been off for five months, and a number of things happened during that time (see inside). And Now: Local News Is Very Excited About What Week It Is (Fat Bear Week). Main story is about the woeful health care in US prisons, a shameful condition often belittled by the media. Yep, Last Week Tonight is back! (On Youtube, 19 minutes) And Now: Fall Is Here, And So Is Something Else (Pumpkin Spice Lattes). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 2, 2023 - 13 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Biden's Border Policy  Season 10, Ep 10

This week.... Matthew McConaughey's had a five-and-a-half-hour-long "The Art of Livin'" Virtual Live Event that was bonkers. In the UK, they prepare for Charles' coronation despite facing serious economic problems. And Now: Is Matthew McConaughey OK? Main story: Biden, and the ways in which he's failed to live up to his campaign rhetoric regarding immigration, like the continued abuse of Title 42, a public health law, which began under Trump as a way to prevent access to immigrants and asylum seekers was began under Trump policy golem Stephen Miller, and which Biden has notably failed to stamp out." And Now: Wait, Did Tucker Carlson Know This Was Coming? (Statements Carlson has said on Fox News that could be seen to refer to his recent resignation-probable-firing.) On Youtube. (20 minutes) Finally, an update over the ads fo Radiant Plumbing and Air Conditioning, who makes strange and wonderful toilet-themed parodies of big movies for commercials. Last month LWT challenged them to make a toilet-themed commercial parody based on a movie of their choosing. They accepted in brilliant fashion, and the movie choice was, of all things, Magnolia. What they produced, awesomely, was... Magtoiletolia.
posted by JHarris on May 1, 2023 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Cryptocurrencies Again  Season 10, Ep 9

This week.... Scotty Campbell, one of the Tennessee lawmakers who voted to expel two of his Democratic colleges for protesting against gun violence, was revealed himself to have sexually harassed at least one intern, and resigned his seat. The right flips out over an Instagram influencer promoting Bud Light because she was a trans woman. Main story: Cryptocurrency again, a look at three of the biggest collapses of recent months: Terra, Celsius and FTX. On Youtube (24 minutes). And Now: A Look At A Few More Of Jim Cramer's Great Calls. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 25, 2023 - 10 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Farm Workers  Season 10, Ep 8

This week.... Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota spoke at a NRA forum, claiming that it wasn't just a bunch of old white guys, to a crowd composed almost entirely of old white guys. Texas judge Kacsmaryk suspended the FDA's approval of a key component of medication abortions 23 years after the fact, using terrible reasoning to do so (MeFi). And Now: Did You Know Action News' Robert Grant Has A Fucking Dairy Allergy? Main story: Farm workers (Youtube, 25 minutes), most of whom in the US are foreign-born and undocumented, are badly treated, work in dangerous conditions, are woefully paid, and can legally be as young as twelve, and yet are incredibly essential to agriculture, which is messed up. The closing segment (of a parody "Farming Simulator 2023") was narrated by Nick Offerman. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 17, 2023 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Homeowners Associations  Season 10, Ep 7

In the aftermath of yet another school shooting, children gathered outside the Tenessee courthouse chanting "Fuck Bill Lee!" due to the grossly underwhelming response from Republicans to the shooting, who expelled two House members because they had the temerity to side with the students. And Now: It's Easter, The Most Terrifying Time Of The Year." Main story: Homeowners Associations, much-hated, often-tyrannical groups that 29% of Americans must live with, a figure that's rapidly growing because over 80% of new homes are covered by one. They have been called "the most significant privatization of local government responsibilities in recent times." They sometimes function like small governments, but without any of the strictures that governments have. They can be astoundingly petty, and that's not even getting into how they can be the tools of racists. It's just one more way that people often get screwed over in the United States. On Youtube (25 minutes). The piece is concluded by a short segment depicting what it would be like if HOAs were forced to tell people what they may be in for. For people 35 or younger, who likely will never even be able to own a home, LWT has prepared an alternate story, A History of Chuck E. Cheese, a 28-minute video that can been seen at lastsqueaktonight.com. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 10, 2023 - 12 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Solitairy Confinement  Season 10, Ep 6

This week.... France experiences unrest after Macron submits a plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. And Now: The Last Remaining Sliver of Morality in Tucker Carlson's Head Tries To Give Him Some Advice. Main Story: the massive inhumanity of solitary confinement in prisons, a practice that the Supreme Court in 1890 ruled made prisoners "violently insane," and the reliance placed upon it by the U.S. prison system now, no matter what euphamism is used for it. On Youtube (20 minutes) And Now: Nobody Reports The News Like FOX 26's Isiah Carey. Finally, Last Week Tonight presents their newest character (a year early): Mickey Mouse! [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 3, 2023 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Timeshares  Season 10, Ep 5

This week... it's slightly possible that maybe it could occur that Trump will be arrested soon, and he seems to be taking it "well." The fallout from the failure of Silicon Valley Bank continues. And Now: For St. Patrick's Day, Local News Did What They Always Fucking Do. The main story is on timeshares (on Youtube, 26 minutes), or as they're sometimes rebranded now, "Vacation Clubs," or "Vacation Ownership Plans." People are pressured to buy them on vacation, salespeople have diminished responsibility when they lie about them, and 85% of timeshare buyers come to regret their purchase, which are often subject to a "non-cancellable perpetuity clause," that can be an outright burden on the people they're left to in estates if they don't fire a disclaiming document within nine months. As the show tells us, timeshares suck, and companies that claim they can get you out of timeshares suck more. The show welcome's back John's "wife," Wanda Jo Oliver, to tell us about her new "company," Timeshare Exit2, which "has over 9.3 billion customers, and a 200% satisfaction rate!" [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 20, 2023 - 9 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: TANF Misuse  Rewatch   Season 10, Ep 4

This week... News on Dominion Voting System's defamation case against Fox News indicating that neither Fox's hosts nor Rupert Murdoch believed Trump's claims of election fraud, with Tucker Carlson being captured in a text as saying, "I hate him passionately." Tennessee passes a drag show ban, because that's the biggest problem facing the state? The anti-LGBT bills come by way of Lt. Governor Randy McNally, who as it turns out has been commenting on social media about racy photos from a gay male influencer. And Now: Happy International Women's Day, From The Men Of Local News. It's as awkward as you think it is. Main story: TANF (on Youtube, 23 minutes), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. A lot of athletic (for some reason) celebrities are involved, but that obscures the fact hat the $77 million dollars that were misspent in Mississippi caused real harm. But Mississippi is far from alone in abusing the federal TANF program, with states ranging from using it for scolarships to well-to-do families to crisis pregnancy centers to literally nothing at all. Ugh. And Now: The Humble Beginnings of Rachael Ray. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 14, 2023 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Ron DeSantis  Season 10, Ep 3

This week... leading off with the main story, on Ron DeSantis, who has been doing a lot of horrible things as the governor of the US State of Florida, trying to position himself as the Republican nominee for President over the head of that other horrible person. And Now: Jerry O'Connell's Wife is a Scorpio, And He Needs Help. A final word on the TV ads of local business Radiant Plumbing which includes, among many others, Mister Scream, The Toiletnator, The Toilet Exorcist and... Toilet Dune. Last Week Tonight challenged Radiant Plumbing to make their next commercial based on their prompt sight-unseen, in exchange for a $10K food bank contribution, and Radiant Plumbing has already agreed, in classic fashion. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 7, 2023 - 11 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Artificial Intelligence  Season 10, Ep 2

James O'Keefe was removed from ethics-challenged right-wing ambush muckrakers Project Veritas over allegations of misusing donator funds. And Now: Mike Huckabee's Show Looks Like Fun. Main story: Artificial Intelligence, the dangers it poses and the ways that it falls short, for now at least, of its promise. On Youtube (28 minutes). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 27, 2023 - 12 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Psychedelic Assisted Therapy  Season 10, Ep 1

Welcome back, John Oliver! This week... Fox News is being sued by Dominion Voting Systems for amplifying conspiracy theories involving them about Trump losing the election, revealing that privately, the people at Fox mocked Trump's lies. "Multiple Fox hosts seem to see telling the truth as a possible existential threat." The story after that was on the train derailment in East Palistine, Ohio and the burn from it, causing burning eyes and dead animals, despite not being termed a "high hazardous material train." And Now: Jim Cramer Will Not Shut Up About His Brioni Suits. Main story: Psychedelic drugs, like Psilocybin, LSD and MDMA, and their transformative use in therapy in treating conditions like depression and PTSD. The potential is vast, can we avoid stigma this time? And Now: A Retirement Tribute To NBC4 Washington's Beat Poet Pat Collins. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 22, 2023 - 4 comments

Book: Spare

The life story of Prince Harry. Previously discussed on the blue over here. [more inside]
posted by jenfullmoon on Jan 10, 2023 - 86 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The World Cup in Qatar  Season 9, Ep 30

This week... Elon Musk has been running Twitter for three weeks now and it hasn't been going great. And Now: People On TV Have Some Thoughts On Thanksgiving Foods. Main story: the World Cup comes to Qatar, a nation with some serious problems. A million people are coming to a tiny nation that casually threatens journalists, a nation that will now simultaneously host a plethora of human rights abuses and the world's biggest soccer tournament. On Youtube (25 minutes). And Now: People On TV Interrogate The Important Question: Do You Say Pecan Or Pecan. Finally, this is the last episode of Last Week Tonight for the season, and so we return to AI image generation, along with a whole bunch of clowns on unicycles. "Why do unicycles exist?" Why, indeed.
posted by JHarris on Nov 21, 2022 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The British Monarchy  Season 9, Ep 29

This week.... the Democrats did unexpectedly well in midterms, perhaps helping to staunch the gaping chest wound the US has been suffering since 2016. Republicans seem to be turning against Trump (FINALLY) and towards Florida governor Ron Desantis (still pretty awful). And Now: Steve Kornacki Is Never Not At The Big Board. The main story involves the British Monarchy, "the best thing to happen to white actors since literally everything else." But these days, what really is the point of the monarchy? And while most British people support the institution, the monarchy has some serious baggage attached to it. On Youtube (28 minutes).
posted by JHarris on Nov 14, 2022 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Election Subversion  Season 9, Ep 28

This week.... Heidi Klum dresses as a worm in an awesome costume. Lula defeats Bolsonaro (YAY). Elon Musk takes over Twitter, which knowledgable people describe as "a nightmare built on sticks that might fall apart at any time," and he just fired half of the employees. Main story: Election subversion, trying to change the outcome of elections after they take place, a tactic that looks like it is coming to the United States in a couple of days, due to misinformation spread by conservative media. On Youtube. (33 minutes) Ends with a nice clip of Nick Offerman.
posted by JHarris on Nov 7, 2022 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Bail Reform  Season 9, Ep 27

This (well last) week.... Liz Truss resigns as UK Prime Minister after 45 days, to be replaced by Rishi Sunak. And Now: Unnecessary Full Disclosure. Main story: Bail reform, and how important it is despite it being used by right-wing attack ads to try to damage progressive, and, you know, just plain non-evil candidates. On Youtube (27 minutes) This is LWT's second report on bail; here is the first. (18 minutes) And Now: Unnecessary Full Disclosure All Tamron Hall Edition.
posted by JHarris on Nov 6, 2022 - 0 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Transgender Rights II  Season 9, Ep 26

This week.... Russia's forces, under the direction of General Sergey "Armageddon" Surovikin, strike back at Ukraine for destroying the Crimea Bridge by firing missiles at Ukrainian cities. And Now: More Electrifying Small Talk From San Antonio's "Daytime With Kimberly & Esteban." Main story: the struggle for transgender rights, and Republican efforts to use it to drive supporters to the polls, often using ridiculous exaggerations or outright lies to do so (as is their standard practice). On Youtube (27 minutes). Last Week Tonight is off next week. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 17, 2022 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Crime Reporting  Season 9, Ep 25

This week... protests by schoolgirls in Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest for violating hijab rules. And Now: Christopher Columbus: Kind of a Cool Guy (according to Fox faces). Main story: how crime is covered by the media, which is frequently sensationalist and leaves people with a sense that crime is a much bigger problem than it is, and can stoke fears of false problems like "rainbow fentanyl." It's often compounded by an unquestioning stance regarding police statements. On Youtube (26 minutes) And Now, finally: Another Installment of Local News Beat Poetry From NBC4 Washington's Pat Collins. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 12, 2022 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Antiquities in Museums  Season 9, Ep 24

This week... Liz Truss faces a cost-of-living crisis in the UK and decides to solve it with trickle-down bullshit, and is roasted by British media after only one month in office. And Now: Shopping Networks Recognize Queen Elizabeth's Death The Only Way They Know How. Main story: Antiquities, artifacts of great cultural worth that are frequently stolen from their homelands in order to be displayed in museums, where they frequently remain indefinitely, one of those practices that people seem to think is okay mostly because it's done so often, and has been for so long. On Youtube (34 minutes)
posted by JHarris on Oct 4, 2022 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Bolsonaro  Season 9, Ep 23

This week... Biden declares the pandemic to be over, which it isn't. Florida governor Ron DeSantis flies migrants (from Texas, not Florida) to Martha's Vineyard at Florida taxpayer expense in a ridiculous stunt for the benefit of Fox News. Puerto Rico, hit by Hurricane Fiona, has power problems again, in large part due to the mismanagement of LUMA Energy. Puerto Rican rap artist Bad Bunny drew attention to the island's continuing electrical woes with a video that at first appears to be a music video, but then turns out to be a 22-minute documentary. And Now: The Queue to End All Queues (the one to pay respects to the deceased Queen of England). Main Story: A return to Jair Bolsonaro, the far right President of Brazil who is running for election. He seems likely to lose but may decide to refuse to leave office, following Trump's example and encouraging a riot. On Youtube (20 minutes). At the end, John Oliver wishes support for the people of Brazil, speaking Portuguese while swinging nunchaku around. There's a reason, kind of.
posted by JHarris on Sep 26, 2022 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Law & Order  Season 9, Ep 22

The President of Chile was undermined during a speech by a toddler on a bicycle in a Superman outfit. Queen Elizabeth died, and Liz Truss replaced Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister of the UK. And Now: Sean Hannity Does The Opposite Of An Ad For Walmart. Main story: Law & Order, not the concepts but the show, and how it's taken as a true depiction of how policing is done when it really shouldn't be. On Youtube (27 minutes).
posted by JHarris on Sep 17, 2022 - 2 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Carbon Offsets  Season 9, Ep 21

This week (for another day or so at least)... Sensitive documents found at Mar-A-Lago. Midterm elections and the legacy of deceased Alaskan Representive Don Young, and the possibility that they could step down from him to Sarah Palin. And Now: Sixty Seconds Of Tucker Carlson Being Right About Stuff. Main story: carbon offsets, corporations idea to fix the environment that seems unlikely to work. The companies in charge of ensuring that offset deals are followed have such hugely lax regulation that John Oliver and LWT started their own offset company, Oliver's Offsets, simply because it's possible and easy. On YouTube (24 minutes) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 28, 2022 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Afghanistan  Season 9, Ep 20

Last week.... Biden signs the Inflation Reduction Act which contains substantial efforts to combat climate change, and the FBI searched Trump's Mar-A-Lago residence and found over 300 sensitive documents that he had taken when he had left office. But the main story is on Afghanistan and the problems created when the U.S. withdrew from it a year ago, a situation that was arguably necessary and long overdue, but that also caused issues for the people living there, who it is difficult to help due to the many (reasonable!) prohibitions on cooperating with the Taliban. On YouTube (21 minutes). And Now: Shepard Smith Has The Best Story Intros In The Business. And finally, they visit the phenomenon of AI-generated art, and the curious images prompted by a user named "postpoopzoomies," that resulted, at last, in Steve Buscemi marrying John Oliver to a large prop cabbage.
posted by JHarris on Aug 26, 2022 - 1 comment

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Monkeypox  Season 9, Ep 19

This--last--okay two weeks ago: a French scientist posted a picture of a slice of chorizo (MeFi) and called it a distant star, and Alex Jones was found liable in three lawsuits brought by families of Sandy Hook victims finally. And Now: Some Thoughts From CSPAN's Most Frequent Caller. (Walter, from Butler, Indiana) Main story: Monkeypox, what it is, the stigma attached to it, and its unfortunate echoes of the AIDS crisis. On YouTube (23 minutes) And Now: Walter From Butler, Indiana Has Some Thoughts On Mortality.
posted by JHarris on Aug 26, 2022 - 1 comment

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

Borgen: A Near-Arctic State  Season 4, Ep 5

The Chinese delegation is making plans for oil extraction directly with the Greenlanders. Birgitte Nyborg's change of attitude has left her without many political friends, and she is now also called to a meeting with the US Secretary of State, who demands that Nyborg intervene against China's actions in Greenland. Rumors about Katrine Fønsmark's leadership style are starting to swirl in the media, and she makes a drastic decision to stop it. [IMDB] [more inside]
posted by chavenet on Jun 24, 2022 - 0 comments

Borgen: The Minister Doesn’t Wish to Comment  Season 4, Ep 4

In the negotiations with Greenland regarding the distribution of oil revenues, Asger Holm Kirkegaard must play Birgitte Nyborg on the field, but the meeting far from goes as planned. Fønsmark has found decisive evidence that Nyborg lied to the Foreign Policy Committee, and is trying with all her might to hold Nyborg responsible for her breach of the Ministerial Accountability Act. In her eagerness to achieve her journalistic goal, Fønsmark creates conflicts internally on TV1. [IMDB] [more inside]
posted by chavenet on Jun 24, 2022 - 0 comments

Borgen: Inuit Nunaat: Land of the People  Season 4, Ep 3

After her statements in the Foreign Policy Committee, Birgitte Nyborg is threatened by a vote of no confidence, and when one of the Greenlandic members of parliament goes against her, the government's majority begins to crumble. Nyborg now has two options: Either she must resign and stand by her ideals. Or she and the government must change policies and suddenly advocate for the exploitation of oil. Moreover, she discovers that her son Magnus has suddenly become an additional political burden for her. [IMDB] [more inside]
posted by chavenet on Jun 24, 2022 - 0 comments

Borgen: Pest eller kolera  Season 4, Ep 2

Birgitte Nyborg receives crucial information about the Russian owners of the company which drills for oil in Greenland. Asger Holm Kirkegaard, who is now on Greenlandic soil, tries to help his minister at the same time as he tries to keep Hans Eliassen in check. Nyborg is called in front of the Foreign Policy Committee, and to help a close ally, Nyborg decides to use a daring tactic, which, however, turns out to have greater consequences than she had imagined. [IMDB] [more inside]
posted by chavenet on Jun 24, 2022 - 0 comments

Borgen: The Future is Female  Season 4, Ep 1

Birgitte Nyborg is taking on a new role as Denmark's foreign minister while Katrine Fønsmark returns to journalism, landing a managing post at her former TV workplace. [IMDB] [more inside]
posted by chavenet on Jun 24, 2022 - 3 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

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