John Oliver has some ideas on what’s in that ‘comically oversized’ letter to Trump from Kim Jong Un

“This week, the June 12 summit between the U.S. and North Korea was suddenly back on after President Trump met with a North Korean envoy who had brought him this gigantic, comically oversized letter from Kim Jong Un,” John Oliver said on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight. “And as if smiling while holding a letter from a dictator were not enough of a propaganda coup for North Korea, the president then raved about the letter to the press.” And then, eight minutes later, he said he hadn’t read the letter, admitting he might be surprised. Yeah, Oliver said. “You just agreed to a summit without reading the contents of the letter that supposedly convinced you to do it. So, worst-case scenario, it’s a declaration of war. Best-case scenario, it says: ‘Donald, it’s me. I have run away to North Korea and I’m never coming back. Melania [your third wife].'”

Oliver moved on to Ukraine — “or as Vladimir Putin calls it, ‘Bonus Russia'” — and Tuesday’s shocking, tragic murder of Putin critic and journalist Arkady Babchenko. “And that’s what made what happened on Wednesday even more remarkable,” he said. “It’s true — Babchenko faked his death to bring down a team of Russian assassins.”

“Some of the details of this fake assassination are amazing,” including the detail that he watched the news of his own “murder” from the morgue, Oliver said. Babchenko’s colleagues were thrilled that he was alive, but some of his friends were rightfully ticked off, Oliver said, as was his wife, who was also left in the dark. Or was she? “And that is the problem here,” he said. “And it’s why some reporters criticized Babchenko, arguing that this plays into Russia’s hands in dismissing actual crimes as ‘fake …read more

Source:: The Week – Lifestyle


Parents are heroes

America has a bad case of baby blues. Our birthrate just hit a 30-year low, and fertility-wise, we now lag behind countries like Sweden that were once Ground Zero of the birth dearth. That bodes ill for our economy, and for anyone who prefers a dynamic, entrepreneurial society to one where robots may be your last remaining friends.

We need a solution to this demographic problem.

One option is to follow Europe’s lead by juicing up America’s family policy. Paid parental leave, child allowances, and subsidized day care have helped some European nations raise their birthrates. American liberals are largely enthused about those possibilities. Conservatives tend to be warier, for fiscal reasons, but also because we’re uncomfortable with entitlements that encourage mothers to institutionalize their children from young ages.

Family policy is something of a quagmire in America, because it’s become a proxy battleground for the Mommy-War tensions that have divided this country for decades. The political left, in its anxiousness to ensure that women are not marginalized, favors policies that minimize the impact of maternity on traditional career development. For the right, the focus is more on underscoring the appropriateness of prioritizing family over other pursuits (particularly if one happens to be a woman). Locked in debate over what women should be doing, we end up doing far too little for them. This partly explains how the U.S. ended up joining Lesotho, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea in that exclusive club: the “We Do Nothing For New Parents Here” Society.

Let’s try shifting our focus.

We can all surely agree that conscientious parenting is admirable and socially useful. Indeed, one reason birthrates are falling is because today’s parents are more or less expected to be ardent and dedicated benefactors to the young, pouring enormous energies and resources into protecting, cultivating, …read more

Source:: The Week – Lifestyle


John Oliver takes the fake British monarchy commentator from New York down a peg

If you watched the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, you might have seen color commentary from the chairman of the British Monarchy Society, Thomas J. Mace-Archer-Mills Esq., John Oliver said on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight. And while Oliver might be a skeptic of the British monarchy himself, he was as annoyed as amused to find out that Mr. Mace-Archer-Mills has a dark secret: “It’s true — that British man is actually Tommy Muscatello from New York. And that is a destabilizing thing to learn.”

“What is most galling about Tommy Muscatello is that, as a defender of the monarchy, he used his air time to argue that Meghan Markle was a brash interloper who needed to proceed with care,” Oliver noted, playing an example. “Let me make this perfectly clear: Meghan Markle’s American passport is not an insult to anyone. The name Thomas J. Mace-Archer-Mills Esq., however, is offensively British. That is the equivalent of a British person pretending to be an American and calling themselves Jefferson Budweiser McNuggets Jr.” He explained something about Muscatello’s background: “Apparently, he went to Europe, met an old lady, asked her to be his grandmother, and now he knows all about the monarchy. And if that sounds at all familiar to you, it’s because it’s literally the exact backstory of Babar the Elephant.” And he closed with some advice. Watch below.

…read more

Source:: The Week – Lifestyle


John Oliver and special guests offer sound advice on elder guardianship, Samantha Bee, and hippos

“Right now, over 49 million Americans are 65 and older,” John Oliver said on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, “and that number is expected to sharply increase in a demographic surge that some have called the ‘Silver Tsunami’ — which is also, apparently, the nickname Christopher Plummer goes by at his underground cage-fighting ring.” Not all of us are going to remain sharp, he added, and “some of us are going to wind up needing extra care, and that could place us in a system called guardianship.”

A guardian is a court-appointed overseer of people deemed incapable of taking care of their own affairs, “and when this system works, it’s great. But it probably won’t surprise you that that is not what this story is about. That’s simply not what we do on I Just Wanted to Watch a Comedy Show and Go to Sleep But Now I’m Sad, with Johnny Joy-Killer.” He explained “what can happen when guardianship goes wrong,” and the details are pretty shocking. Oliver at one point made a Mercury joke, and slipped in Samantha Bee quip while yelling at Neil deGrasse Tyson for not appreciating his astronomy humor: “Just enjoy something for once in your f—ing life! What is wrong with you, you feckless — ah, never mind. It’s not worth it, it’s not worth it. Bad idea.”

This is going to be an ever bigger problem in coming years, and while greater oversight and funding will be needed, Oliver said, “on the personal level, there are steps that everyone can take to avoid being taken advantage of in the future,” like having “honest conversations with your family,” even if that “sounds like a f—ing nightmare,” as well as taking some “concrete legal steps.” Since Oliver’s relative youth might make him an untrustworthy messenger, he …read more

Source:: The Week – Lifestyle


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