On Sunday, Last Week Tonighttook on the issue of restricted voting rights for Washington D.C. residents, despite the fact they pay federal taxes and have a larger population than some entire states such as Vermont and Wyoming. Even the Dalai Lama once called the situation "quite strange."
"The people of D.C. clearly deserve a greater voice in their own affairs and they've actually come tantalizingly close to getting a voting representative in Congress," John Oliver explained. "In 2009, a bill to give D.C. a vote was introduced in the Senate, and the Senate did the most dickish thing imaginable: passing it, but with a little addition."
That controversial addition sought to repeal all of D.C.'s gun control laws, further illustrating the uphill battle that is granting D.C. statehood.
"It was the kind of amendment NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre dreams about as he sleeps in his bullet-filled bathtub, I presume," Oliver said.
As a result the bill was dropped.
With the help of a group of singing children, Oliver continued his call for D.C.'s statehood with an amended tune about America's 50 states. Not convinced? The song ends with the suggestion, "Well then let's all kick out Florida cause no one thinks they're great."
Shortly after commemorating the 50th anniversary of the landmark Voting Rights Act on Thursday, Rep. John Lewis stopped by the ASPCA's Paws for Celebration event on Capitol Hill to meet some adorable puppies. Fortunately for the rest of us, cameras were present:
It was good to spend a little time with the wonderful puppies that the ASPCA brought to Capitol Hill.
On Tuesday, an American dentist admitted to paying $50,000 to hunt and kill Cecil the lion, a beloved animal and popular tourist attraction in Zimbabwe. News of the killing sparked swift condemnation on social media, with many calling for Walter Palmer to be extradited to Zimbabwe to stand trial.
Amid the outrage, photos quickly resurfaced of Donald Trump's sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, posing with the dead bodies of several exotic animals, including an African elephant and leopard, they had previously hunted for sport.
When the photos initially emerged online back in 2012, the Trump brothers staunchly defended themselves, taking to Twitter to "make no apologies."
"In some parts its over populated. Bottom line with out hunters $ there wouldn't be much left of africa. Eco is nice but no $," one tweet from Trump Jr. read.
The public reminder is just the latest relic in Trump's past to stir controversy. This week alone, the New York Times dug up a series of depositions in which the GOP frontrunner for president once told a female lawyer she was "disgusting" for pumping milk for her then three-month-old daughter. The day prior, the Daily Beast published a story resurfacing an old assertion from his former wife claiming he had once raped her.
Update, August 2, 2015: Donald Trump defended his sons with the following statement: "My sons love to hunt. They are members of the NRA, very proudly. I am a big believer in the second amendment. My sons are hunters. Eric is a hunter. He puts it on a par with golf - ahead of golf. And my other son is a hunter. They are great marksmen, great shots. I like to play golf."
Following news an American dentist admitted to paying $50,000 to hunt and kill Cecil the lion, Zimbabwe's most beloved animal, comedian Jimmy Kimmel took to his show on Tuesday night to deliver an emotional response.
"The big question is: Why are you shooting a lion in the first place?," Kimmel said. "I mean, I'm honestly curious to know why a human being would feel compelled to do that. How is that fun? Is it that difficult for you to get an erection that you need to kill things that are stronger than you? If that's the case, they have a pill for that. It works great. Just stay home and swallow it, and you save yourself a lifetime of being the most hated man in America who never advertised JELL-O Pudding on television."
The segment included photos of previous animals baited and hunted by the Minnesota dentist, identified as Walter Palmer.
Kimmel's monologue mirrored outrage seen on social media after Zimbabwean authorities revealed on Tuesday that Palmer was behind the brutal hunt. The 13-year-old lion was seen as a national treasure in the country.
Update, July 28, 4:40 p.m.: Walter Palmer released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying he "deeply regrets" killing Cecil the Lion and implied he may have been misled by local guides.
A Minnesota dentist has been identified as the big game hunter who allegedly paid $50,000 to kill Cecil the Lion, one of Zimbabwe's most beloved animals, and a main tourist attraction for the Hwange National Park. Zimbabwean police said Walter Palmer is now being investigated for baiting the 13-year-old lion and then killing the animal with a crossbow.
"They went hunting at night with a spotlight and they spotted Cecil," Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force's Johnny Rodrigues said, according to The Guardian. "They tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park and they scented an area about half a kilometer from the park."
"He never bothered anybody. He was one of the most beautiful animals to look at," he added.
Palmer has been accused of paying local hunters, two of whom have since been arrested, to aid the hunt. According to Zimbabwean officials, Cecil was also skinned and beheaded.
According to Minnesota's Star Tribune, Palmer is preparing to dispute some of the allegations. "Obviously, some things are being misreported," he said, according to the report. Palmer's spokesman told The Guardian that "Walter believes that he might have shot that lion that has been referred to as Cecil," but added that Palmer believed "he had the proper legal permits and he had hired several professional guides."
News of Cecil's killing was swiftly met with outrage on social media. Since being identified as Cecil's alleged killer, Palmer's dental business in Minnesota—which was closed on Tuesday—has been flooded by negative Yelp reviews condemning the allegations.
In 2009, Palmer was profiled by the New York Times for a feature on the controversial sport of trophy hunting in which he described his ambition for setting new hunting records. He told the paper he learned to shoot at the age of five. In 2008, Palmer pled guilty to lying to federal officials about where a black bear had been killed.
"We are extremely saddened by the news of Cecil the Lion being illegally killed for sport—not only from an animal welfare perspective, but also for conservation reasons," Jeff Flocken, North American Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare said in a statement. "African lion populations have declined sharply, dropping nearly 60 percent in the last three decades."
Earlier this month, President Obama granted clemency to 46 nonviolent drug offenders, which saw the largest number of presidential commutations granted in a single day since the 1960's. As John Oliver noted on the latest Last Week Tonight, the move was particularly significant because each offender was subjected to harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws, which require low-level offenders to be locked up regardless of the crime's context.
"Ridiculously long sentences are not a great deterrent to crime," Oliver explained in his take-down of unfair sentencing laws on Sunday. "Prison sentences are a lot like penises: If they're used correctly, even a short one can do the trick.
"The truth is that mandatory minimums didn't just not work, they ruined lives."
While failing to reduce crime, mandatory minimum laws also disproportionately target minority groups across the country.
"There should be a lot more pardons and commutations," Oliver said. "But if we really want to address this problem permanently, we need states and the federal government, not just to repeal mandatory minimums going forward, but to also pass laws so that existing prisoners can apply for retroactively reduced sentences."
New York magazine just released its newest cover story, which features 35 women who have publicly accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault for one powerful photo series. The arresting black and white cover photo presents each accuser seated in a chair with one final empty seat remaining at the end.
The magazine spoke to all 35 women separately over the course of six months. Noreen Malone writes:
Each story is awful in its own right. But the horror is multiplied by the sheer volume of seeing them together, reading them together, considering their shared experience. The women have found solace in their number—discovering that they hadn't been alone, that there were others out there who believed them implicitly, with whom they didn't need to be afraid of sharing the darkest details of their lives.
On Monday morning, just hours after the story was published online, the magazine's website appeared to be hit by a DDoS attack blocking any attempt to successfully read any article coming from New York. The alleged hacker told the Daily Dot the hacking had nothing to do with the cover story and it was instead motivated by a recent bad trip to New York City.
Nasty, brutish, and relentlessly thrilling, the Olympia, Washington, trio Strange Wilds grinds up abrasive rock'n'roll ingredients and spews 'em out as one glorious wave of disruptive noise. These raucous youngsters have thoroughly schooled themselves on early punk, thrash metal and grunge (with a big debt to Nirvana's pre-Nevermindvibe), but Subjective Concepts sizzles like a brand-new inspiration. And for all the bruising chords, crashing drums, and wounded-beast vocals, it's not hard to find some solid songs amidst the storm. "Starved For" echoes Chris Bailey's Saints, while "Oneirophobe" finds singer-guitarist Steven (no last names used here) growling, "I feel fine, I feel okay/Just so scared of the everyday" as he tries to make sense of it all.
While digging through a trove of historical news footage recently released by the Associated Press, we came across this gem of Arnold competing in the 1969 Mr. Universe competition at the tender age of 22:
"The choice was an American as amateur Mr. Universe and an Austrian as the professional," the announcer says. The Austrian? Yep, that's Arnold. He would go on to win five Mr. Universe titles and seven Mr. Olympia titles, before gracing the silver screen with his manly muscles and Austrian accent.
Sometimes athletes choose to stand in the center of a movement and make a statement. Ohio State's Cardale Jones, quarterback of this year's national championship football team, took some time Thursday to ask a simple question on Twitter:
It wasn't exactly incendiary stuff from Jones, who has been dinged for expressing himself on social media before. Still, when one fan decided to chime in totell Jones to shut up and stick to football, the 22-year-old junior from Cleveland wasn't having it: