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Podcast: The Report: Part XV: Mueller's Report

It's Friday, March 22, 2019. It's been nearly two years since Robert Mueller was first appointed Special Counsel. Now, he's ready to submit a final report to the Attorney General. He has uncovered a sprawling and systematic effort by Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. And he's developed a mountain of evidence about the president's efforts to obstruct his investigation, things like witness tampering, ordering the creation of false records, and trying to fire Mueller himself. But Mueller's got a problem: a Department of Justice memo says he can't indict a sitting president. So what is he supposed to do with all this evidence? Mueller decides to just lay it all in the report, all 448 pages of it. It'll be someone else's problem to decide what to do about it: maybe a future prosecutor, maybe Congress, maybe the America electorate. That isn't really Mueller's concern. He's done what he was asked to do. Now his report can speak for itself. [more inside]
posted by General Malaise on Nov 12, 2019 - 4 comments

Podcast: The Report: Part XIV: The Fixer Flips

We're almost at the end of our story. This episode will cover the final set of activity that the Special Counsel examines for possible obstruction of justice: the president's behavior towards his long time attorney Michael Cohen. Unlike the other possible acts of obstruction in Volume II, which mostly occur after Trump takes office, the relevant conduct towards Cohen spans the entire time period at issue in the Mueller investigation. It starts all the way back before the campaign. To Trump Tower Moscow. [more inside]
posted by General Malaise on Nov 2, 2019 - 1 comment

Podcast: The Report: Part XIII: Pardons On The Table

It's January 2018. Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are in a whole lot of trouble. The past is catching up to them. Three months earlier, they'd both been indicted on multiple felony counts and now it looks like there might be even more charges coming. Gates is getting nervous--they're facing many years in prison. Manafort tells Gates to relax. He's talked to the president's personal counsel. He says they're going to "take care of us." Manafort tells Gates he'd be stupid to plead guilty now, "just sit tight, we'll be taken care of." Gates wants to be crystal clear on what exactly Manafort's getting at. So he asks: Is the president going to pardon them? [more inside]
posted by General Malaise on Oct 31, 2019 - 1 comment

Podcast: The Report: Part XII: It Will Never Get Out

It's February 6, 2018. Don McGahn is back in the Oval Office with President Trump and the new White House chief of staff John Kelly. The New York Times has just published a story reporting that, back in June of 2017, Trump had directed McGahn to have Mueller fired and that McGahn had threatened to resign rather than carry out the order. The story doesn't look good. Trump says: "You need to correct this. You're the White House counsel." Trump wants McGahn to say it never happened. But McGahn knows that it did happen. The White House Counsel is sticking to his guns. He's not going to lie. The president asks again. Is McGahn going to do a correction? McGahn feels Trump is testing his mettle, seeing how far he can be pushed. And so he answers: No. He's not. [more inside]
posted by General Malaise on Oct 23, 2019 - 1 comment

Podcast: The Report: Part XI: A Special Counsel

It's May 17, 2017. White House Counsel Don McGahn is in the Oval Office with the president. McGahn's job is to represent the office of the presidency, which isn't quite the same as representing the president personally. It's a delicate line to walk, and Trump hasn't made the job any easier. McGahn is supposed to act as the point of contact between the White House and the Department of Justice, to ensure all the rules are being followed. But the president has made clear, he's not interested in following the rules. Trump has already fired his FBI director. That's why McGahn is in the Oval that morning, they need to interview a new nominee for the position. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is there too.Sessions interrupts the meeting. He has an urgent phone call from the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, so he steps outside to take it. Sessions returns a moment later and relays the message: Rosenstein has appointed a Special Counsel to oversee the Russia investigation. It's the former FBI director, Robert Mueller.  Trump slumps back in his chair. He says, "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm fucked." [more inside]
posted by General Malaise on Oct 14, 2019 - 3 comments

Podcast: The Report: Part X: You're Fired

It's March 7, 2017. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on the nomination of Rod Rosenstein to be the Deputy Attorney General. Rosenstein's whole career has been leading up to this moment. He's a non-partisan sort of guy. He's served under both President Bush and Obama. Now he's being elevated to the role of running the day to day at DOJ.But this hearing is about more than just confirming a new deputy attorney general. On March 2, five days earlier, Attorney General Jeff Sessions had announced his recusal from all investigations involving the 2016 election, a recusal which included the Russia investigation. And so, the moment he becomes deputy, Rosenstein will also become the acting attorney general for the purposes of the Russia investigation.Rosenstein is confirmed and he's sworn in on April 26, 2017. But his oath is about to be tested, like never before. Less than two weeks later, President Trump says he wants to fire the FBI Director and Rosenstein decides to help. [more inside]
posted by General Malaise on Oct 7, 2019 - 1 comment

Podcast: The Report: Part IX: Honest Loyalty

It's January 26, 2017. Sally Yates is the acting Attorney General; she's leading the Justice Department until Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the Senate. Yates has just learned some alarming news. The new National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has lied to FBI agents. He's told them that he hadn't discussed sanctions in a call with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. But he had. And it looks like Flynn has lied to the vice president about it as well. Yates calls White House Counsel Don McGahn. She says they have to meet right away. Yates knows that the FBI has the tape to prove Flynn lied, which is a crime, but right now there's an even bigger problem: the Russians probably have the tape too. [more inside]
posted by General Malaise on Oct 2, 2019 - 1 comment

Podcast: The Report: Part VII: Charging Decisions

It's April 18, 2019, Attorney General Bill Barr summons reporters to the Department of Justice in Washington DC. Robert Mueller's report is about to be released. Before the press and the public finally see the document for themselves, Barr wants a chance to tell his own version of the story it contains. But is the bottom line according to Barr the same as the bottom line according to Robert Mueller? We'll let you decide. [more inside]
posted by General Malaise on Sep 4, 2019 - 1 comment

Podcast: The Report: Part VI: Back Channels

It's December 29, 2016. The Obama administration announces that it's imposing sanctions on Russia, as punishment for election interference. Michael Flynn has been tapped to become Trump's national security advisor when the new administration takes office in January, but it's still the transition period. Flynn is taking a few days vacation at the beach, when he sees the news. He grabs his phone and texts the transition team at Mar a Lago. He writes "Tit for tat with Russia not good" and says that the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak is reaching out to him today. Flynn calls Kislyak and asks that Russia not escalate in response to the sanctions. Apparently, it works. The next day, in a surprise move, Putin says that Russia won't retaliate. Trump tweets, "Great move on delay (by V. Putin). I always knew he was very smart." [more inside]
posted by General Malaise on Aug 27, 2019 - 1 comment

Podcast: The Report: Part V: Russian Overtures

It's the morning of April 25, 2016. At a hotel in London, a Maltese professor meets with a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. The two have been in touch over the past few weeks; the professor has been helping the young man connect with Russian officials. Now, over breakfast, the professor lets him in on a secret. On a recent trip to Moscow, high-level government officials told him that the Russians have "dirt" on Trump's opponent. What was the "dirt" in question? "Emails," he says. They have "have thousands of emails."
posted by General Malaise on Aug 18, 2019 - 1 comment

Podcast: The Report: Part IV: A Tale of Two Trump Towers

As the Russians were engaged in operations to hack and dump emails, the Trump campaign and its associates were in communication with Wikileaks about the distribution of stolen materials. But that's far from the whole story of the Trump campaign's connections to Russia during the 2016 election. As Special Counsel Robert Mueller began to piece together the rest of that story, his investigation came to focus on two Trump Towers. The first is Trump Tower Moscow. Beginning all the way back in 2013 and through the spring of 2016, the Trump organization is pursuing a project to build a skyscraper in Russia. For a long time, the plans for Trump Tower Moscow had gone nowhere. But when Donald Trump announces he is running for president, things start to get interesting.
posted by General Malaise on Aug 11, 2019 - 3 comments

Podcast: The Report: Part III: The Campaign & The Leaks

It's July 27, 2016. Donald Trump has just given a press conference during which he suggests that Russia hack Hillary Clinton and release the 30,000 allegedly missing emails from her private email server. The Russians, unbeknownst to people in the United States, appear to take the request seriously and hour later begin cyber-attacking Clinton's private office for the first time. Privately, Trump has instructions for his top aides: He repeatedly asks individuals affiliated with his Campaign to find the deleted Clinton emails too. His national security adviser, Michael Flynn, says Trump made this request repeatedly. And so Flynn acts on it, teaming up with a shadowy Republican political operative in an ill-fated attempt to track down a trove of Clinton emails from Russian hackers
posted by General Malaise on Aug 5, 2019 - 1 comment

Podcast: The Report: Part II: Hack. Dump. Divide.

It's March 2016. John Podesta is sitting at his computer. He opens an email. Something's wrong with his password, it says. It looks a little fishy, but IT says it is legit. And so he clicks. He follows the prompt. inputs his old password, resets a new one. And just like that hackers from a Russian military intelligence unit are in. It barely takes a minute, one click and a few keystrokes and there is no going back.This is Episode 2 of The Report: Hack. Dump. Divide
posted by General Malaise on Jul 30, 2019 - 1 comment

Stranger Things: "Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt"  Season 3, Ep 8

Terror reigns in the food court when the Mind Flayer comes to collect. But down below, in the dark, the future of the world is at stake.
posted by Fizz on Jul 4, 2019 - 176 comments

Stranger Things: "Chapter Seven: The Bite"  Season 3, Ep 7

With time running out - and an assassin close behind - Hopper's crew races back to Hawkins, where El and the kids are preparing for war.
posted by Fizz on Jul 4, 2019 - 32 comments

Stranger Things: "Chapter Six: E Pluribus Unum"  Season 3, Ep 6

Dr. Alexei reveals what the Russians have been building, and Eleven sees where Billy has been. Dustin and Erica stage a daring rescue.
posted by Fizz on Jul 4, 2019 - 27 comments

Stranger Things: "Chapter Five: The Flayed"  Season 3, Ep 5

Strange surprises lurk inside an old farmhouse and deep beneath the Starcourt Mall. Meanwhile, the Mind Flayer is gathering strength.
posted by Fizz on Jul 4, 2019 - 26 comments

Stranger Things: "Chapter Two: The Mall Rats"  Season 3, Ep 2

Nancy and Jonathan follow a lead, Steve and Robin sign on to a secret mission, and Max and Eleven go shopping. A rattled Billy has troubling visions.
posted by Fizz on Jul 4, 2019 - 35 comments

Book: The Mueller Report

The final report by Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the 2016 election, whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians, and whether the President obstructed justice by getting to limit the effectiveness of the investigation.
posted by Going To Maine on Jun 1, 2019 - 18 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

Book: The Unwomanly Face of War

Alexievich chronicles the experiences of the Soviet women who fought on the front lines, on the home front, and in the occupied territories. These women—more than a million in total—were nurses and doctors, pilots, tank drivers, machine-gunners, and snipers. They battled alongside men, and yet, after the victory, their efforts and sacrifices were forgotten. Alexievich traveled thousands of miles and visited more than a hundred towns to record these women’s stories. Together, this symphony of voices reveals a different aspect of the war—the everyday details of life in combat left out of the official histories. [more inside]
posted by mixedmetaphors on Mar 16, 2019 - 2 comments

Book: A Terrible Country

When Andrei Kaplan's older brother Dima insists that Andrei return to Moscow to care for their ailing grandmother, Andrei must take stock of his life in New York. His girlfriend has stopped returning his text messages. His dissertation adviser is dubious about his job prospects. It's the summer of 2008, and his bank account is running dangerously low. Perhaps a few months in Moscow are just what he needs. [more inside]
posted by tofu_crouton on Jan 9, 2019 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Stupid Watergate II: Fox News' Cries Of "Witch Hunt"  Season 5, Ep 14

This week:
  • Trump prepares for the (then) upcoming North Korea summit, of course, by not preparing.
  • Philippine President and strongman Rodrigo Duterte very uncomfortably kisses a young woman before a crowd.
  • And Now: Julie Chen Has A Few Questions For The Audience of "The Talk."
  • Main Story: More on Stupid Watergate, this time about Fox News' efforts to normalize the idea that the Mueller investigation is a "witch hunt" by calling that through every channel available to them, in an desperate (yet somewhat effective) effort to get ordinary Americans thinking it must be one, despite the fact that they've already charged 20 people and three companies, and gotten five guilty pleas. Watch it on YouTube (18m).
  • And Now: The Entire Seventeen-Minute Piece You Just Saw, Boiled Down To Eight Seconds.
  • Finally, a bit about the UK. Last week's episode had a segment about the putdowns of House of Commons speaker John Bercow that could not air in the UK, because of a stupid law saying footage of the chamber could not be used in "light entertainment" or "political satire." Because they used such footage this week and thus UK viewers again cannot be shown the whole program, LWT offers five minutes of replacement content: Gilbert Gottfried reading Yelp reviews.
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 16, 2018 - 1 comment

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Guardianship for the Elderly  Season 5, Ep 13

This week:
  • The summit with North Korea is called off. North Korea sends Trump a message in an oversized envelope. Trump calls the summit back on. Trump admits he hadn't read the contents of the envelope. Leader of the greatest nation in the world, folks.
  • Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko is declared to be dead on worldwide news, but then discovered to be alive, his faked death an element in a sting to catch a group of Russian assassins.
  • In the UK, the chairman of the British Monarchists Society, one "Thomas J. Mace-Archer-Mills, Esq.," a fixture on TV during the royal wedding, is revealed to actually to have been born and lived to his teens in the US, and even got an unrelated elderly British couple to call themselves his grandparents.
  • And Now: The Very British Put-Downs of Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.
  • Main story: Legal guardianship, a state under which senior citizens can be put where they have limited rights, and can find it difficult to get out of.
The main story (16 minutes long) is available on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 7, 2018 - 6 comments

Homeland: Paean to the People  Season 7, Ep 12

Carrie and Saul's mission doesn't go as planned. Elizabeth Keane fights for her presidency. Season finale. [more inside]
posted by penguin pie on Apr 30, 2018 - 12 comments

Homeland: Clarity  Season 7, Ep 10

Carrie needs to choose a side. Keane needs an ally. Saul has an idea. [more inside]
posted by penguin pie on Apr 16, 2018 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mike Pence  Season 5, Ep 5

This week:
  • Trump fires Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
  • Putin wins reelection as President of Russia to no one's surprise, ensuring horrible threats, poisoned opponents and meddling in foreign elections for foreseeable future.
  • And Now: Local News Cannot Be Trusted With St. Patrick's Day
  • Main Story: Mike Pence, the hyper-fundamentalist, hyper-intolerant Vice President in the Trump Administration, and the one person in it Trump cannot fire. His opposition to gay rights is well known, but, as Oliver admits, he has a cute rabbit named "Marlon Bundo." Pence has a book out, A Day in the Life of the Vice President, about his rabbit. LWT is putting out another book, about a different rabbit named Marlon Bundo, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, where a boy rabbit falls in love with another boy rabbit. (See inside for more.)
The Mike Pence segment is on LWT's official YouTube channel. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 19, 2018 - 15 comments

Homeland: Active Measures  Season 7, Ep 5

Keane plays tactics to calm the situation in Richmond; Carrie assembles a team to put pressure on Simone; Saul pursues the Fake News agenda alone. [more inside]
posted by penguin pie on Mar 12, 2018 - 7 comments

The X-Files: This  Season 11, Ep 2

Per IMDB, "A chilling secret is revealed when an old friend reaches out to Mulder and Scully in a seemingly impossible way." Per me, "FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully fall asleep on a couch in front of the TV, only to be awoken by a mysterious phone call." [more inside]
posted by ProfLinusPauling on Jan 10, 2018 - 30 comments

Podcast: Reply All: #99 Black Hole, New Jersey

A mysterious thief has been using the internet to steal a bizarre array of items - watches, scooter parts, clown costumes. This week, Alex heads straight towards his hideout.
posted by bq on Jun 15, 2017 - 12 comments

Fargo: The Lord of No Mercy  Season 3, Ep 6

Gloria and Winnie get closer to the truth; Emmit tries to make things right; Nikki and Ray prepare for payback; Varga cleans up a mess. [more inside]
posted by raysmj on May 25, 2017 - 11 comments

Movie: Battle for Sevastopol

Battle for Sevastopol is a Russian/Ukranian co-production based on the WWII experiences of Lyudmila Pavilchenko, a young Ukranian student who becomes one of the war's deadliest snipers. With 309 confirmed kills in just over a year, Pavilchenko is brought to the White House to meet President Franklin D Roosevelt, the first Soviet ever to receive such an invitation. Pavilchenko meets and is befriended by Eleanor Roosevelt, who invites her on a promotional tour of the United States to rally support for the Soviet "Second Front" war effort despite her PTSD. [more inside]
posted by under_petticoat_rule on Apr 29, 2017 - 1 comment

Un village français: Le débarquement  Season 1, Ep 1

How one small village in France deals with fascist takeover in WWII. Tanks begin rolling into town. [more inside]
posted by cda on Apr 9, 2017 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Dalai Lama  Season 4, Ep 4

Over the last seven day period....
  • The good will President Trump earned addressing Congress in a manner unlike a madman is burnt away by continuing revelations that his pick for Attorney General perjured himself in his confirmation hearing by claiming never to have met with the Russians.
  • Trump also claims Obama tapped his phone, an allegation apparently gotten from the Breitbart website, then asks Congress to investigate whether it is true, reversing the usual order of investigations.
  • And Now: Does Anyone Know If CNN's Brooke Baldwin Would Consider Herself A Nerd?
  • Main Story: The Dalai Lama (YouTube 19m), and China's attempts to surpress his influence over Tibet. The bit concludes with an interview between Oliver and the Dalai Lama himself.
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 8, 2017 - 4 comments

Occupied: Okkupert - Season 1  Season 1, Ep 0

A decision to shut off Norway's oil/gas production by the ruling environmental party sets off a slow-motion invasion and occupation of Norway by Russia, condoned by the EU and unopposed by the U.S. A show so . . . plausible the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement in protest. [more inside]
posted by longdaysjourney on Dec 25, 2016 - 7 comments

Arrow: So It Begins  Season 5, Ep 6

Felicity and Curtis learn that Prometheus' victims have a mysterious link to Oliver's past that could upend his new team. [more inside]
posted by FallowKing on Nov 10, 2016 - 7 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Brexit Update, Doping in Sport  Season 3, Ep 17

This week....
  • The UK votes to leave the European Union, and in the wake David Cameron resigns as Prime Minister of the UK. YouTube (5m)
  • And Now: The Things News Anchors Are Scared Of
  • Main Story: Doping in the Olympics, and its creeping ubiquity. LWT provides an inspirational athlete bio that may be more realistic than the usual uplifting sports story. YouTube (21m)
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 27, 2016 - 8 comments

Live Stream: Grand Final (2016 Eurovision Song Contest)

EUROVISION DAY IS HERE! The 2016 Grand Final begins at 2100 CET / 3pm Eastern / 12pm Pacific. As before, the live stream will be available via the Eurovision website, the Swedish broadcaster, SVT, and for the first time, through the LOGO TV website. (Note to LOGO viewers: commentary will be provided by Carson Kressley and Michelle Collins.) Viewers located outside the US can also watch via YouTube. [more inside]
posted by zebra on May 14, 2016 - 458 comments

Live Stream: Semifinal 1 (2016 Eurovision Song Contest)

The opening round of this year's Eurovision Song Contest is almost upon us! Semifinal 1 begins Tuesday, May 10th, at 2100 CEST / 3:00pm EDT. The live stream will be available via the Eurovision.tv website or directly from YouTube (link TBD). Let's talk fabulous hits and glorious misses! [more inside]
posted by zebra on May 9, 2016 - 18 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: US CONGRESSIONAL FUNDRAISING  Season 3, Ep 7

This week.... Vladimir Putin snubs the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, and Donald Trump demonstrates that nuclear weapons is another thing he doesn't have much knowledge about. Baseball season prepares to begin, and the New York Yankees annoy and frustrate fans by making it difficult to resell premium tickets online, claiming that the tickets may end up in the hands of people who the Yankees owner figures may not know how to treat the privilege of sitting in the first five rows at a Yankees game. LWT is running a short impromptu context: tweet a picture of yourself wearing something that would would look ridiculous sitting in premium seats at a Yankees game with the hashtag #IHAVENEVERSATINAPREMIUMLOCATION, and you can win one of those seats to a game. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Apr 4, 2016 - 11 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Encryption  Season 3, Ep 5

This week....Hillary Clinton apologizes for remarks made about Nancy Reagan on the occaision of her death. Trump rallies erupt in violence, but he claims (despite multiple recorded examples) not to have encouraged it. International Women's Day is observed, sometimes oddly, throughout the world. Swiss president Johann Schneider-Ammann commemorates the Day of the Sick with a weird speech. And Now: Everybody Listen, Bernie Sanders Has Something to Say. Main story: Software encryption (18m), especially relevant concerning Apple's current court case. LWT made a commercial on behalf of Apple about the nature of software security. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 14, 2016 - 10 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: North Dakota  Season 2, Ep 30

Russia fires cruise missiles at targets in Syria and Iran, and the U.S. suspends their rebel training program. FIFA's ethics committee suspends Sepp Blatter for 90 days, and all his replacements are either being investigated themselves or might be soon. The U.S. asks Toyota how come so many of their trucks have gotten in the hands of ISIS. And Now: John McCain's Favorite Joke. Main story: North Dakota's oil rush, and the environmental and human cost to the state. LWT produced a video appeal to North Dakota to hold oil companies to greater account for their malfeasence, and paid for a billboard in the state saying "Be Angry. (Please.)" YouTube (20m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 12, 2015 - 18 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mental Health, Peeple  Season 2, Ep 29

Vladimir Putin launches air strikes against ISIS in Syria. Quick takes from the United Nations general debate: Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe defends their anti-homosexuality laws; Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaims the Iran nuclear deal by silently staring them down for 45 seconds; dictator of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko brings his 11-year-old son to sit beside him in the General Assembly. The Secret Service hits scandal yet again by trying to embarass Congressman Jason Chaffetz by leaking his old job application to their agency. And Now: People On Television Talking Shit About Their Producers. Main story: the horrifying plight of the mentally ill in the United States. YouTube (12m) And Now: Newscasters Stretching The Definition Of The Word "Exclusive." And finally, the new "Yelp for people" app, Peeple... wait that sounds a bit familiar. Last Week Tonight launches a website to facilitate people saying awful things on the internet without actually hurting anyone: screamintothevoid.com. Or consider another suggestion by LWT: Peeble, an app which rates people according to the opinion of Mario Van Peebles. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 5, 2015 - 3 comments

Podcast: The Black Tapes Podcast: Episode 111 - The Codex Gigas

Alex's faith in Dr. Strand is tested as another piece of his past unravels, and her search into the Order of the Ceonophus uncovers a dark origin.
posted by Tevin on Sep 29, 2015 - 8 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: LGBT Discrimination  Season 2, Ep 26

This week.... Hostilities flare up between North Korea and South Korea. Vladimir Putin bans the import of many types of food from the West. Greece President Alexis Tsipras resigns (but will still run for reelection) after just seven months in office amidst controversy over his bank-mandated austerity measures. And Now: Another Check-In With The Most Patient Man On Television. (That would be Steve Scully of C-Span's Washington Journal.) The main story: discrimination against LGBT couples still legal in surprisingly much of the nation. YouTube (15m) And Now: The Most Patient Man On Television Faces His Greatest Challenge. Finally, a follow-up on the business of John Oliver's church, Our Lady Of Perpetual Exemption. They got rather a lot of mail, including a giant bag of seeds, followed by gianter bag of seeds the next day. They also got beef jerky and a 100-Trillion-dollar bill from Zimbabwe (worth about 40 cents). Last Week Tonight is taking a break for two weeks. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 24, 2015 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mandatory minmum sentencing in the US  Season 2, Ep 22

This week.... The Obama administration reaches a historic deal with Iran, but has difficulty selling it to Congress. FIFA president Sepp Blatter is in Russia to kick off preparations for the 2018 World Cup. Ashley Madison, a website that encourages and helps set up affairs between married people, was hacked and the responsible parties threaten to release records on their userbase. LWT produced a short message exhorting married citizens of Ottawa not to have affairs. Main story: The absurdity of mandatory minimum sentencing laws in the US. YouTube (15m) And Now: Unnecessary Full Disclosure. Ukraine threatens to blacklist Gérard Depardieu as a threat to their national security (Guardian) for a statement made last year at a film festival. Over the closing credits, LWT provides a brief slideshow of photos of Depardieu set to "cartoonishly French music." [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 27, 2015 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Online Harassment of Women  Season 2, Ep 18

This week: Shootings in South Carolina. Russians plan "Patroit Park," a theme park for national military fans. The US $10 bill is being redesigned to include a woman's face. And Now: C-Span Callers Suggest Women For The $10 Bill. Main story: On the harassment of women on the internet. YouTube (17m) Last Week Tonight remakes an old AOL ad.
posted by JHarris on Jun 23, 2015 - 16 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: US torturing of detainees, upping the stakes against Jack Warner  Season 2, Ep 17

This week: Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko warns Vladimir Putin likely to invade soon. Azerbaijan prepares to host the European Games, a new Olympics-style sporting festival, drawing closer scrutiny for their terrible human rights record. Canadian senators discovered to have spent over a million dollars of the government's money for things like golf and fishing trips, hockey tickets and holidays -- but spent $24 million to discover it. And Now: Newscasters Trying Not To Swear. The main story is on torture, American's attitudes and misconceptions regarding it, and how little has changed since we learned the CIA engaged in it, how it doesn't work, and why we seem to think that it does. LWT got Dame Helen Mirram to read key excerpts from it. YouTube (15m) And Now: Newscasters Not Trying Not TO Swear. And finally, an update on former FIFA vice president Jack Warner, who responded (3m) to Oliver's Trinidad TV response (4m) to his video (7m). The "epic and dramatic music" in Warner's is Ash (3m), by The Secession.
posted by JHarris on Jun 15, 2015 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: U.S.' Poor Work Provisions For New Mothers, Japanese Mascots  Season 2, Ep 13

This week: United Kingdom holds elections and in an upset David Cameron remains Prime Minister. Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen refuses to pay up on a bet that Manny Pacquiao would defeat Floyd Mayweather in the World Heavyweight Boxing championship. Russia holds a parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE Day, but is snubbed by many world leaders protesting Russia's treatment of Ukraine. And Now: The Continuing Adventures Of The Most Patient Man On Television (Steve Scully of C-Span's Washington Journal), this time versus profanity. Main story: Mother's Day, and America's awful leave provisions for new mothers, among the worst in the world (YouTube 12m). LWT provides a helpful commercial illustrating US business' actual opinions towards mothers. And finally, Japan and its weird love affair with cartoon mascots for districts and government agencies. Supposing they may be on to something, LWT presents their own mascots for 11 U.S. government agencies. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on May 11, 2015 - 9 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Patent abuse, more on CNN's End Of World Video  Season 2, Ep 10

This week: Vladimir Putin holds his yearly four-hour marathon Q&A session with the Russian public. Oklahoma volunteer deputy Robert Bates shoots black suspect Eric Harris. In preparation for Earth Day (it's in a week), they took a quick look at the plight of the polar bear; not only is their habitat shrinking, but pollution is threatening the species by weakening male polar bears' pelvic and penile bones. In studio we meet Marshmallow, the Polar Bear With A Broken Penis. And Now: The Most Patient Man On Television Endures The American Public. (That would be Steve Scully of C-SPAN's Washington Journal call-in show.) Main story: Abuses of the US Patent system. (YouTube 11m) And Now: The Continuing Adventures Of The Most Patient Man On Television. And finally, we return to CNN's infamous "end of world" video, with Last Week Tonight's own proposed version (YouTube 7m), narrated by Martin Sheen and featuring footage of an old-time Western saloon peopled by cats.
posted by JHarris on Apr 21, 2015 - 7 comments

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