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S01.E05: Net Neutrality

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This week's topics include the rise of the far right political parties in Europe, the Ukrainian election, Afghanistan, Net Neutrality, Australia's hard-line right-wing Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

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Wow. Is it me, or is Tony Abbot like Dubya to the Rob Ford-th degree?

In other news, I think John deserves an award for making Net Neutrality interesting while being British. It could've been a CSPAN-style slog, but he made it work.

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LOVE that John is willing to bite the hand that feeds him (since HBO is owned by one of LARGEST of these parties who he ranted against with the Net Neutrality piece---Time Warner). And for those who perceive "liberal bias" with John overall on a lot of things, he clearly came down extra hard on the Obama administration on this too, with all of the stuff about how much the government is in the pocket of the telecomm lobbies (including the bit about their ex-lobbyist getting the top government job possible for that area).

 

Oh wait.  Did I just call it the "Net Neutrality piece".  I meant the "Preventing Cable Company Fuckery" piece!

 

The "Good evening Monsters" talk?  EPIC.  Fucking EPIC.

 

I also loved the tone of the "did you know there are other countries that are not America" thing at the head of the piece about Tony Abbott, followed of course by great stuff like "Tony Dumdum" and "suppository of Wisdom".  Hee.  And man did that piece prove what a piece of excrement the guy is.

 

Once again, John Oliver, you have upheld my faith in you, and this show.  

Edited by Kromm
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"There's a word to describe Chris Cuomo, but I don't know how to spell it."   I laughed out loud at that.   So funny because in that context it was absolutely true. 

Edited by vb68
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I’ve really been enjoying this show it’s a nice balance of U.S. and international information.

Wow. Is it me, or is Tony Abbot like Dubya to the Rob Ford-th degree?

 

As far as Tony Abbott goes, don’t like him, didn’t vote for him and am kinda embarrassed that he has now been presented to a U.S. audience. What with the drop bears, sharks and the world’s most venomous creatures the last thing we need is our head of state repelling people.

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When do they put this show together? They did a piece on the freed prisoner of war and that only happened, like, Friday, didn't it?

 

And, yes.  Tony Abbott reminded me exactly of Dubya.

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Is there a video missing from their YouTube page? I can't find the one on Bergdahl (I'm guessing it's about him) that goodogcarl is talking about. (I don't have HBO, so I'm reliant on their YT page.)

 

As for the rest, I think this was his best show yet. They just knocked it out of the park on net neutrality. His speech at the end was the perfect mix of lampooning rousing speeches and actually giving a rousing speech. Just fucking brilliant! And the Tony Abbott segment was hilarious. Part political ad, part PSA.

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Excellent episode.  From good international snark against Australia and Abbott, to making Net Neutrality interesting, informative, and non-biased politically, to reminding the audience just how much "news-show casters" are just idiotic morons most of the time.

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This show just keeps getting better and better.  The finale "Good evening, Monsters" was gold.

 

I say this because it wasn't just a great idea of the writers to direct the "monsters" at an internet issue.  John Oliver's performance absolutely sold it.  The whole presentation was perfect.

 

That's a "well done" to the entire team from one, lowly viewer.  (And, I guess, because I'm posting an opinion on a website, one of the "monsters", LOL.)

Edited by Captanne
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When living in Australia I always felt like Tony Abbott represented the caricature of Australians that most seem to want to avoid. A white, arrogant, bully concerned about his physique and detests immigrants. I left before the last election (and the Labor swap in heads for the second time). I get the impression, and perhaps Ms. Sherlock can confirm, that most Australians just felt completely at a loss between their choices of government, and Labor's continued ability to exasperate people during the previous 5 years lead to the Liberal support.

 

Also, I always enjoyed the primary political parties. The "Liberal Party" is the right-wing party and the "Labor Party" is spelled in the American fashion.

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According to a post on Last Week Tonight's Facebook page the number of comments on Net Neutrality went from 1800 before the broadcast to 45,647 afterwards.   I tried to go on the website myself, but can't get through.  Going by  other Facebook comments, it looks like everyone's having the same problem.  

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The show has graciously posted both of this week's most epic pieces on YouTube.

 

Preventing Cable Company Fuckery

 

 

 

Did you know there are other countries that are not America?  Didja?

 

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I think if I ever run into a politician I don't like and he/she tries to talk to me, I'll just say, "Dickhead" and walk on. That was awesome.

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It's only been five episodes, but I really think this show and John Oliver already found their footing and their voice.  This is pretty impressive, and I hope HBO keeps this around.

 

Loved Oliver's take on Net Neutrality and his call to action and  "rousing" speech to the Internet monsters/trolls.  Always fun to see that foreign leaders can be just as fucked up as our US leaders (my "favorite" was probably Abbot's anti-immigration stance basically sounded like "Hey, Jesus put you in your home country for a reason, so why move?")  

 

And leave it to the good old US media to take what should have been a nice moment at a Spelling Bee, and crap all over that.  What the hell, Cuomo?!  Making it a competition was bad no matter what, but the fact that your mind went straight to a street-fight in an alleyway, was... kind of disturbing.  Major credits to the kids for their mature response to that "question."

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And leave it to the good old US media to take what should have been a nice moment at a Spelling Bee, and crap all over that.  What the hell, Cuomo?!  Making it a competition was bad no matter what, but the fact that your mind went straight to a street-fight in an alleyway, was... kind of disturbing.  Major credits to the kids for their mature response to that "question."

I don't know if we can blame the media as a whole for the conduct of a puffed up privileged douchebag like Cuomo, who's no doubt had his ass kissed since he was a child and Daddy was the King of New York (not that I have all that much against Mario Cuomo, but this guy was a teenager during those years and I can't imagine that having any good effect on someone's psychology).

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LOVE that John is willing to bite the hand that feeds him (since HBO is owned by one of LARGEST of these parties who he ranted against with the Net Neutrality piece---Time Warner).

 

I think that's the best thing about the show so far, and what will really differentiate it from the Comedy Central programs: HBO is obviously letting John do whatever he wants. Any program with sponsors would never go after major corporations week after week the way Oliver is doing. 

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I think that's the best thing about the show so far, and what will really differentiate it from the Comedy Central programs: HBO is obviously letting John do whatever he wants. Any program with sponsors would never go after major corporations week after week the way Oliver is doing. 

That's true overall, although I saw mention of the fact on another board that Time Warner Cable (since 2009) is no longer under the same ownership as Time Warner the parent corporation, despite the continued common naming.  Of course they're all still jointly part of the same big synergistic media overlord structure--where they're all interdependent--so it's still pretty forward thinking of the show (and whoever at HBO is shielding them) to go where they're going.

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Overall, I loved the Net Neutrality piece but one part that impressed me was that John took a swipe at hippie-punching. Jon Stewart had an annoying tendency to want to punch hippies and I loved hearing John basically say, 'Fuck off if you don't care about this issue because you think the people who already care are annoying."

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Best show so far from a show that looks guaranteed to have plenty more. The net neutrality piece was one of Ollie's best pieces, if you include his work at TDS. It was enlightening, informative, and entertaining. And, at the end, a glimmer of hope that that net neutrality will not be put on the scrap heap.

 

Holy shit, but Tony Abbott has "douchebag" written all over him. I can't wait to see what LWT does with our "dear leader" Stephen Harper if they ever decide to cast their eyes towards Canada.

 

And i saw the word "asshole" coming a mile away. But it was still hilarious nonetheless, and perfectly suited for Chris Cuomo.

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I agree that this show is getting better and better. Every single segment in this ep was outstanding.

 

I have to admit I haven't been paying attention to the net neutrality issue, but John sure did explain it clearly and colorfully. Why can't the MSM did that? I was most impressed by the graph that showed Comcast's broadband speed from Netflix when negotiations were going on. There's no refuting what that means.

 

The Tony Dumdum piece was terrific. "Dickhead." Hee.

 

I was expecting a piece on the Elliot Rodger/misogyny/guns story. I figure they're working on something, and I'm curious what their angle will be.

 

I just love this show. 

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One little teaser for an upcoming episode (or episodes): on the latest Bugle, John mentioned that he was in England during the Memorial Day break filming segments for LWT. 

 

The World Cup in Brazil (starting next week!) should give him plenty to talk about as well, since he & Andy have been rather critical (justifiably so) of FIFA in the past.

 

One of the things I like about LWT, though, is that I can never guess which topics will be covered on any given show. Unlike TDS they don't seem to have any particular commitment to covering the "big story," which may be why they left the Elliot Rodger story alone. Who could have imagined a piece about the Australian PM, and yet it was brilliant (and rather Bugle-esque as well).

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John Oliver, Tim Carvell and the rest of them are really doing a fantastic job at taking advantage of what HBO allows them to do. I'm always excited to see what they'll do next. He still seems a little nervous, but he's working that energy into his routine beautifully.

 

I've never looked up the Emmy voting information before, but judging by this schedule, they're probably too young and too late to qualify for this year, unless I'm misunderstanding something. I thought they might have a few months worth of episodes to work with, but I guess not. Next year, for sure!

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It's only been five episodes, but I really think this show and John Oliver already found their footing and their voice.  This is pretty impressive, and I hope HBO keeps this around.

 

 

John has proven himself to be a fast learner or adjuster.  It only took him about a week (4 shows) as the anchor at TDS to find his groove there and each LWT show seems to improve.

 

I absolutely love this show and I wonder if HBO will ever add another night.

 

The net neutrality thing was brilliant and I love how it just built to Oliver "unleashing the monsters."  Just a thing of beauty.

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Hey, I'm Hungarian-American and the piece on Jobbik, the neo/Nazi/fascist party of death rock was embarrassingly good. Reading this topic I think it's hilarious that us international folks react like, "Oh geez, did he have to show that?" Like a dad pulling out an old photo album. 

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I get the impression ... that most Australians just felt completely at a loss between their choices of government, and Labor's continued ability to exasperate people during the previous 5 years led to the Liberal support.

 

Something like that (I'm Australian). We're fed up with both the major parties, to be honest, but I don't think anyone expected Tony Abbott (aka the Mad Monk) to be as bad as he has been so far. (Tangent: Not long after he made the 'suppository of wisdom' gaffe I went to a trivia night. My team name that night was 'Suppositories of Wisdom'.)

 

The LWT segment has been covered by all Australian media outlets today - even the Murdoch-owned ones, which have been cheerleaders for Abbott up till now. 'Tony Abbott - Last Week Tonight' started trending on Twitter in Oz last night and is still no.2 (currently Tuesday midday Melbourne/Sydney time).

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Something like that (I'm Australian). We're fed up with both the major parties, to be honest, but I don't think anyone expected Tony Abbott (aka the Mad Monk) to be as bad as he has been so far. (Tangent: Not long after he made the 'suppository of wisdom' gaffe I went to a trivia night. My team name that night was 'Suppositories of Wisdom'.)

 

The LWT segment has been covered by all Australian media outlets today - even the Murdoch-owned ones, which have been cheerleaders for Abbott up till now. 'Tony Abbott - Last Week Tonight' started trending on Twitter in Oz last night and is still no.2 (currently Tuesday midday Melbourne/Sydney time).

The show doesn't even air there, correct?

 

Awesome to see it's influence if it doesn't and it was just such an epic smackdown it needed to be acknowledged.

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The show doesn't even air there, correct?

 

It airs on pay TV at 6.30pm Mondays first and then is repeated at various times (but only about 30% of households in Oz have pay TV). But Australians are extremely keen downloaders of TV, so the word got out a few hours before that, basically as soon as it aired in the USA.

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Tony Abbott as PM. Oh the mortification. THE MORTIFICATION. Now everyone knoooooooows!

 

 

We're fed up with both the major parties, to be honest, but I don't think anyone expected Tony Abbott (aka the Mad Monk) to be as bad as he has been so far.

Really? I have to admit...I'm not surprised - so much of that crap was pre-election. 

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"There's a word to describe Chris Cuomo, but I don't know how to spell it."   I laughed out loud at that.   So funny because in that context it was absolutely true. 

If we're talking about Chris Cuomo, it's true in any context.

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I sort of wonder if trolling is the best way to get the message across, but, on the other hand, at least the message is getting there loud and clear.

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It's funny but when I saw the first episode of this show I wasn't really feeling it, and now it's something I just can't live without. It has surpassed The Daily Show for quality and laughs. Comparing the new FCC chair to hiring a dingo to babysit your baby had me rolling the hardest. Of course, Oliver has the luxury of a whole week to put together one episode, but he sure makes the most of it. I just wish it aired earlier, or on a different day, or something. Sunday nights at 11:00? Really?

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I think they're airing it on Sunday nights because that is THE night for HBO. They always put their hottest shows on Sundays. I would imagine they felt LWT would get a stronger viewership if they could couple it with the powerhouse lineup of "Game of Thrones," "Veep," etc. Initially, I thought Friday at 11 (following Bill Maher) would have been a better time slot... but the Sunday airing practically guarantees that the funniest bits (like the FCC thing) will go viral on Monday mornings, when more people are online than they would be on the weekend. Ease into the workweek by watching John Oliver on YouTube, or Tweeting/Facebooking about it if you saw it on Sunday night. So it's a pretty savvy strategy, actually.

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Yeah, I think Sunday is working out really well for them. It helps that their content so far is very internet-savvy, more so than TDS and even TCR. It's the perfect match of the timeslot and content aimed to go viral.

 

It's too bad the full episodes aren't online, at least so far as I've found on their YT channel. They never did upload whatever they did that involved Cuomo, so I suppose some content will always be HBO-only.

Edited by Fremde Frau

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The best part of the Tony Dumdum bit is that there's plenty more stuff like that that got left out. Like the time he was asked what made a party member running for office in a marginal electorate more worthy than her opponent and he came up with "sex appeal". Or when he said, in the lead-up to the 2010 election, "While I think men and women are equal, they are also different and I think it's inevitable and I don't think it's a bad thing at all that we always have, say, more women doing things like physiotherapy and an enormous number of women simply doing housework". Or having only one woman in his Cabinet and responding to criticism by condescendingly claiming plenty of others were "knocking on the door", which was apparently closed for some reason.

 

I get the impression, and perhaps Ms. Sherlock can confirm, that most Australians just felt completely at a loss between their choices of government, and Labor's continued ability to exasperate people during the previous 5 years lead to the Liberal support.

 

Basically, yes. I don't think it's entirely coincidental that Australian politics went to crap pretty much as soon as the checks-and-balances Australian Democrats (party slogan: Keep the Bastards Honest) lost their final senate seat.

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Time named Last Week Tonight one of the 10 best shows of 2014: http://time.com/2809452/best-tv-shows-2014-so-far/

The Daily Show alum’s blistering comedy-cast is very new, but it’s the most welcome addition in a year of late-night change. Reorienting the fake-news format toward world events and commercial culture, it’s becoming the go-to chaser to the stiff drink of Sunday-night TV.

 

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This show is so good, I don't even feel like I'm wasting time and vegging out while watching it. I have been catching whatever I can find on You Tube til today, when DirecTV offered me three free months of one premium cable service. I immediately knew the one I wanted was HBO, because I wanted to see whatever parts of LWT are only available to subscribers. Feeling pretty good about my decision after viewing the show in its entirety tonight! DirecTV also informed me that they had been bought by AT&T, so the monopoly issue was especially on my mind. I am really worried about Net NeutraliCorporate Fuckery... it's like if the phone companies could choose whether or not to put your call through, or make it wait in queue. I live in the boonies and we already have no access to truly fast internet or anything other than one choice for cell phone or TV. Adding an additional burden of preferential treatment for corporate darlings is just one straw too many.

 

I only wish wisdom could be delivered by suppository. With all the assholes running around, it might make education a lot easier.

Edited by possibilities
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The greatness of the net neutrality segment blew me away. I oughtn't even to call it a "segment"-- it rose to the level of a short one-act play. A one-act play that deserves a Pulitzer Prize.

 

I always liked Oliver on TDS (who didn't?), but I never expected him to achieve what he's achieving with this show.

Edited by Milburn Stone
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Given how some commentators had written about the net neutrality coverage as setting Last Week Tonight apart from its papa in terms of content, I didn't realize that The Daily Show had also covered the topic, a few times. It's been fun going back and watching those older segments. (Question: does John Hodgman age?)

 

Anyway, seeing those bits made me appreciate even more the energy and advocacy of John Oliver's segment. Structurally, his show is like TDS, and his energy is like Colbert's. For me, that's the biggest thing so far that sets him apart from TDS.

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Watching the video of Australia's PM Tony Abbott sent me into such a rage spiral. How in hell did he get elected. I never thought anyone could be worse that Julia Gillard.

I really hope people actually post comments to the FCC so Net Neutrality will remain.

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Quote

 

The Federal Communications Commission has won a major victory in its decade-long battle to keep the internet open.

In a ruling issued Tuesday, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the rules the agency imposed in February 2015.

The decision confirms the FCC's contention that it has the authority to place broadband providers under some of the same strict regulations that have governed telephone networks for more than 80 years. The appeals court ruling could be the last word in a high-stakes argument over the business side of the internet, but the broadband and wireless industries will likely look for cracks in the decision that they may use in an appeal to the US Supreme Court.

 

FCC's Net neutrality rules win big in appeals court

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Say you’ve just rented an apartment in Manhattan. One of the first things you’ll likely want to do, after turning on the gas and electricity, is shop for broadband-Internet access. Depending on the location of your apartment, you’ll have two choices, Time Warner Cable and Verizon’s FiOS, or just one, Time Warner. Neither service will be cheap, both charging about sixty dollars a month for moderately fast (but not blazing fast) broadband service.

Had you, instead, moved to London, you might have been choosing between as many as four big providers, BT, Sky, Virgin, and TalkTalk, plus a number of smaller players with names like Demon and Zen Internet, and even the postal service. The competition among those providers means you could be paying less than half what you’d pay in New York for comparable service.

That more competition leads to lower prices is basic economics, but the complacency in Washington about this monopolistic (or, at best, duopolistic) situation is long-standing and, until last week, seemed unlikely to shift. But then, on June 14th, the federal appellate court in D.C. issued a ruling that gave the Federal Communications Commission powers to regulate cable companies more aggressively. If the F.C.C. chooses to use those powers, it could increase competition among broadband providers. And if competition works as it’s supposed to, then market-opening regulation could slash the cost and raise the quality of broadband services.

[...]

The court’s approval, however, doesn’t mean the F.C.C. will use its regulatory power to the fullest. When the F.C.C. voted last year to implement net-neutrality rules, the Commission’s chairman, Tom Wheeler, said that the F.C.C. will engage in only “light touch” regulation, and that there will be “no rate regulation … and no network unbundling.” Wheeler won’t likely be in his job for much longer, and in a recent Op-Ed, Hillary Clinton criticized the absence of competition in a number of industries, singling out broadband access as a particular problem. Of course, no matter who becomes President, the cable companies won’t give up their monopoly power without a titanic fight. And prices for broadband in a Manhattan apartment—or in most of the country, for that matter—aren’t likely to come down soon.

 

Net Neutrality Is Great, but It Won’t Make Broadband Cheaper

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