“Raise less corn and more hell!” Mary Elizabeth Lease exhorted her fellow Kansans in the late 19th century. Kansas was the epicenter of left-wing populist fervor. Kansans agitated against big banks and other businesses that took advantage of the working class farmer. Fast forward a hundred years, and Kansas is one of the most stridently right-wing states in the nation. Native Kansan Thomas Frank explores the changes that led the state's working class voters to redirect their anger. He also relates these changes to the new political landscape of the country as a whole. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Forensic Science Season 4, Ep 25
- Puerto Rico, where three million American citizens continue to deal with the destruction from Hurricane Maria, while President Trump and his administration both aggrandizes their efforts to help while demeaning them for needing help. The debacle comes at the end of a weak of failures by Trump and team. Trump also claims the Republicans' most recent attempt to ruin health care failed because a senator "was in the hospital." (No one was in the hospital.)
- Trump's efforts to pass tax reform, or as he himself calls it a massive tax cut, which the Tax Policy Center has determined would actually raise middle class taxes and accrue most of the benefits to the top 1% of taxpayers. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin dismisses those concerns, predictably.
- And Now: Guy Fieri Gives A Surprisingly Detailed Tour of His Favorite Place on Earth ("Flavortown.")
- Main story: the use of forensic evidence in the solving of crimes. While jurors are conditioned by shows like CSI to expect conclusive proof to come from forensic evidence, the National Research Council has stated that many "forensic sciences" don't meet the basic requirements to be called "science." Last Week Tonight produced a short promo for the show "CSI: Crime Scene Idiot." YouTube (19m)
So, last week....
- "Unfortunately, we must begin, again, with President Trump, two words that continue to sound unnatural together, like 'Walrus Porn,' or 'Tilda Swinton.'" Trump promises a crackdown on illegal immigrants, despite problems hiring ICE agents, and withdraws Obama-era guidelines for transgender students in school bathrooms.
- And Now: Some Random Thoughts From WCBS2 Meteorologist John Elliott
- Main Story: The Affordable Care Act (YouTube 19m), and Republicans trying to repeal it despite unexpected (to them) popular opposition. LWT examines what it is, problems with it, and Republican plans to fix it.
- And Now: WCBS2 Meteorologist John Elliott Drops Some Famous Names
- Finally, the Supreme Court. Republicans refused to hold a hearing for Obama's Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland for 11 months, so that they'd have the opportunity to have their guy Neil Gorsuch confirmed, a historic abberation. To reflect this, LWT's Dog Supreme Court is filling the seat, not with a dog, but by a choice of three lobsters, that they're asking viewers to vote for on their Twitter feed.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: 911 Season 3, Ep 12
- Donald Trump starts to mend fences with the Republican elite (5m), as we all knew he would; refuses to release his tax returns; invented a publicist for himself in the 80s that was actually just him.
- A recording of the Queen of England caught her saying a remark about a Chinese diplomat. (2m)
- Budweiser announces temporarily changing the name of their beer-like substance to "America." (2m)
- People Who Somehow Got Elected: Paul LePage, Governor of Maine. (4m)
- Main story: 911, and the difficulties it faces in the age of cell phones. (16m)
This week.... Donald Trump wins the South Carolina Republican Primary despite a feud with the Pope, and Jeb Bush finishes fourth. Republicans dig in on not confirming whatever replacement Supreme Court Justice Obama nominates. The "Judicial Crisis Network" makes an ad saying Republican senators should not confirm made mostly of smiling faces bought from stock footage sites. Last Week Tonight provides a stock footage rebuttal. How is This Still a Thing: Hollywood whitewashing. This week's main story:
breast implants abortion (16m), and the stealth efforts of the right to outlaw it de facto by making it impossible in some states to operate an abortion clinic through the imposition of ridiculously onerous rules. The show finishes up with footage of a bucket of baby slothes -- and one in person, in the studio. Metafilter thread. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Sex Education Season 2, Ep 24
This week.... The Republican debates happened, and one of the debators was Donald Trump. The Indian government blocks a few hundred adult websites, provoking outrage throughout the nation. Whole Foods comes under fire for their ludicrously high prices, including a plastic cup of water with two asparagus stalks soaking in it selling for $5.99. Last Week Tonight made a commercial on behalf of Whole Foods, apologizing for their prices. Main story: Sex education in the United States. LWT presented a small educational piece with famous faces providing some rudimentary sexual information. YouTube (21m) [more inside]