S2 E4: Infrastructure, Net Neutrality & Gerbils: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

S2 E4: Infrastructure, Net Neutrality & Gerbils: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Boris Nemtsov Assassination

  • Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition leader, was assassinated two days before leading a rally against President Vladimir Putin.
  • Despite his history of imprisoning or killing political opponents, Putin is in charge of the investigation into Nemtsov's death.

Net Neutrality

  • The FCC approved net neutrality rules, preventing cable and telephone companies from creating a two-tiered internet system.
  • Verizon, an internet service provider, objected to the net neutrality rules by releasing a press release in Morse code.
  • Some members of Congress disagreed with the FCC's ruling, arguing that it gives the government too much control over the internet.

Black Death

  • Scientists in Norway believe gerbils, not rats, may have spread the Black Death, which killed 75 million people in the 14th century.
  • The human race apologized to rats for centuries of blaming them for the Black Death, while gerbils have not yet apologized.

America's Crumbling Infrastructure

  • The main story of the show is about infrastructure, which is often overlooked and underfunded despite its importance.
  • America's dam system is in a state of disrepair, with many dams having problems from when they were first built.
  • Many states are not paying enough attention to their dam problems, with some states having only a few inspectors responsible for thousands of dams.
  • America's infrastructure, including bridges, roads, and pipelines, is in poor condition and has received a D+ grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • Infrastructure failures can have serious consequences, such as bridge collapses, water main breaks, and even deaths.
  • Despite the urgent need for infrastructure improvements, funding is lacking, and the Highway Trust Fund, the primary source of infrastructure funding, is about to run out of money.
  • The federal gas tax, which funds the Highway Trust Fund, has not increased since 1993, leading to a 39% decrease in its real value.
  • Congress has failed to pass long-term transportation legislation, instead relying on short-term extensions.
  • Raising the gas tax to increase funding is unpopular among the public, and the White House has not proposed any alternative plans.
  • The lack of political urgency in tackling the issue of America's crumbling infrastructure is criticized.
  • Despite the potential catastrophic consequences, there seems to be a laid-back approach to finding a funding source for infrastructure repair.
  • Speaker Boehner's office has been unresponsive to inquiries about his proposal to raise revenue for the US Highway trust fund.
  • The video highlights the importance of routine maintenance and repair of infrastructure, comparing it to a blockbuster movie about incremental maintenance.
  • The video uses humor and satire to emphasize the need for addressing infrastructure issues before they become catastrophic.
  • The video criticizes the lack of attention given to infrastructure maintenance and repair compared to other threats like terrorism or alien invasions.

Overwhelmed by Endless Content?