Television

HBO's Great Sunday Night Lineup Is a Tribute To Economic Freedom

The Night Of, Ballers, Vice Principals, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver are products of the best arts patron of all: the free market.

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HBO Films

Don't even think about bothering me between 9 P.M. and 11:30 P.M. tonight.

I'll be parked on my couch, staying up way too late watching HBO's great Sunday night lineup: The Night Of, Ballers, Vice Principals, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. These shows perfectly capture why the premium cable channel remains about the last redoubt of "appointment television" in a world of endlessly proliferating on-demand options. Years after shows such as Oz, Sex & the City, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and other programs set new standards for TV, HBO still manages to produce politically, culturally, and sexually charged content that makes us want to drop whatever we're doing and watch on a network's schedule rather than our own.

The main reason for this is one of the least-appreciated: Because you pay for it, HBO is free to engage issues and perspectives that other cable channels shy away from out of fear of alienating advertisers, viewers, and government or industry buttinskies. No matter how racy or edgy, say, Comedy Central, FX, TBS, or Cartoon Network's Adult Swim can get (which is plenty, thank god), they're all still bounded by appeals to common decency if not necessarily appeals to the lowest common denominator. Something tells me that Mike Lindell, the ubiquitous-on-cable inventor of My Pillow, doesn't want his spots to be bookended by the profanity, nudity, and seriously adult situations Girls serves up on a regular basis. The broadcast networks might be freer than ever from governmental content regulation, but they still lag far behind even basic cable in terms of serving up shows that actually cater to adult sensibilities without flinching.

Charging a cover means that HBO's shows can use adult language and situations not simply to titillate but to reflect how we actually live, talk, and think in the 21st century—and whatever century Game of Thrones is set in. Real Time with Bill Maher sets the standard for political gabfests not simply because he routinely pulls in guests from all over the political spectrum but because you can freely curse on the show. Seriously, how can anybody with half a brain discuss the 2016 election without going full Tourette's sooner or later? (Disclosure: Matt Welch and I appear on the show.)

But HBO's expressive freedom consists of much more than blue language and nude scenes. Back in the 1980s, HBO's awful anthology show The Hitchhiker defined the appeal of premium cable. Each half-hour episode revolved around not just a terrible, Twilight Zone-style plot twist but a single strategically bared breast. Indeed, the real dramatic tension was when and to what ridiculous lengths the producers would go to provide a pretext for a flash of skin.

That was then. The police procedural The Night Of, which closes out its eight-episode season on Sunday, plumbs the intersection of race, class, and law with a grit and unsettling violence that is seen nowhere else on small screen. Starting off as a shaggy-dog story involving a Pakistani-American college kid boosting his father's cab and picking up a seeming dream girl, the first episode ends with a night of drug-fueled sex, murder, and arrests. As the plot unfolds, we navigate a world that is filled with overlapping and contradictory ethnic enmities, well-intentioned but blinkered law enforcement, and less and less moral clarity. Ballers is superficially a bawdy dramedy about a former football star turned financial manager (played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) whose ambition is outstripped by his talents. True to its locker-room roots, there's more than a little rough talk but there's also a frank and compelling tension between typically white agents and black clients. It's also one of the few shows that talks frankly about making money and the power that flows directly from having gobs of it.

HBO

Vice Principals sprouts from the dark, twisted, and brutally funny mind of actor and writer Danny McBride, whose previous HBO series, Eastbound and Down, plunged to new depths of tastelessness and black humor. There is no one to root for in this tale of two idiotic school administrators who are endlessly thwarted in their attempts to advance their careers. It takes place in a moral universe where God is either dead or actively shitting on humanity, a comic version of Seneca's Thyestes, in which two brothers brutalize each other beyond description. I virtually never agree with the substance of John Oliver's soliloquies on the news of the week—his recent, ill-informed take on charter schools provides an example why—but he's always intellectually challenging in a way that extends his Daily Show roots into new and more complicated areas. In this, he's paralleling what Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm did with Seinfeld, spinning platinum from a show that was already solid gold.

None of this is to suggest that HBO, any more than its less-accomplished competitor, Showtime, is infallible (Vinyl, anyone?) or that it's series aren't open to criticism. But HBO uses its economic freedom from advertisers and its aesthetic and intellectual freedom from the FCC and cable-operator bureaucrats to produce TV for literate and literary viewers who want complex plots, relevant and highly charged themes, and adult situations (which is so much than mere nudity and sex scenes).

In an era where free speech is under attack on college campuses, in politics, and the workplace, HBO isn't afraid to crank out shows that warrant trigger warnings longer than your arm and to engage politics more directly than a Saudi Arabian Clinton Foundation donor. The result is programming that we're willing to pay extra for, build our Sunday nights around, and wake up on Mondays at 6.30 A.M totally sleep-deprived.

If only the rest of life was so bankable.

NEXT: New Johnson/Weld Ad: "no insults, no threats, no bluffs...this is a HUGE opportunity, don't you see?"

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  1. Are you bored at home today Nick? That’s 4 posts in a row!

    1. I for one appreciate the Scooby snacks.

    2. I’m making over $15k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. Go this website and go toTech tab for more work details…Now this Website… http://goo.gl/zO9Jnm

  2. Nick Gillespie, ladies and gentlemen, brought to you today by the good folks at Time Warner, Inc.

    1. I’d kill for Time Warner right now. Fios has been down for 3 days.

      1. Call your local verizon office dude, make sure they aren’t dead.

  3. (Disclosure: Matt Welch and I appear on the show.)

    This does not rise to the level of a finely crafted Ron Bailey disclosure. Penance is due.

  4. John Oliver and Economic Freedom?

    1. Forget it, he’s rolling

  5. All I know of the Vice Principals show is the promos they ran before Game of Thrones. The show looks terrible, with a definite Paul Blart Mall Cop vibe.

    1. So you’re saying it’s awesome?

    2. Yeah, if you like your comedy sophomoric and outlandish, it is funny.

      1. So, I watched Observe and Report for the first time about a week ago, and it feels like a sincere film (which isn’t true of many of Rogan’s films) marred by being too self-aware. I’m not really sure what to make of it. Parts were genuinely funny, parts too cringy to watch in full (I fast forwarded through these), and parts that just failed to land despite the gusto the actors put into it. It was a sprawling, undirected mess from beginning to end, but at least it did the mall cop thing without doing the Family Guy mall cop thing.

        1. It is a very dark movie that is very funny at times. Anytime Michael Pe?a talks or does a voiceover it’s hilarious. But you are correct – the movie is strange, uneven, and depressing; that is what I liked about it.

          1. You’d think unpredictability would be a a virtue for a film, but given the political bent taken by so many movies purporting to be black comedies, I was expecting an eventual soliloquy on gun control, either as a result of a well-meaning carrier unjustifiably shooting a suspect (which is what happened) or Rogan losing it and going spree shooting (which seemed to be where the movie was headed). But the soliloquy, thankfully, never came. It presented an unjustified shooting as it mostly is, some lunkhead with a piece who opens up too willfully. Except they glossed over same lunkhead spending several years in prison for negligent homicide or manslaughter or whatever, instead going for the ending which kinda ruined and made the movie for me. It’s a very silly film about a very silly subject, so it kinda washes. I’ll probably give it another go some day. But kudos to Rogan for playing his idiot character straight.

            1. There’s a theory that the end part of the movie is all in the character’s head and doesn’t actually happen. Which actually probably makes a lot more sense when you really think about it.

              1. I was waiting for the “it was all a dream” moment there at the end. And the fact that Rogan didn’t go that route cements the movie as a meditation on the absurdity of prosaic, dead-end middle-American lives, the diner gals and gas station clerks and, yes, mall cops. But it’s not mockery. Rogan, for all his many faults as an actor, plays Ronnie straight. He’s a moron with an undeservedly puffed-up ego, but he’s sincere. And there’s the shadow of a psychotic killer lurking just under the surface. In another movie, a movie with a more realistic bent, that would have been the arc: from insipid semi-retarded fake-badge-wearing jomoke to disillusioned spree killer. But O&R is about a genuine (if moronic) human being and his disappointing but ever-hopeful life.

              2. It’s essentially a comedy version of Taxi Driver. Even Jody Hill has said so.

        2. Keep in mind that O&R is Blue Stilton compared to PBMC’s discount cheez whiz.

  6. I’ll be watching the finale of The Night Of, but I suspect they might leave it ambiguous whether the kid is guilty or not.

    Indeed, the real dramatic tension was when and to what ridiculous lengths the producers would go to provide a pretext for a flash of skin.

    This was written about The Hitchhiker, but it also applies to Game of Thrones.

    1. GoT doesn’t really need a pretext to show skin.

      1. And “flash” I’d an inadequate descriptor for the amounts if skin they do show.

    2. To what does it *not* apply?

      1. As far as HBO originals? Curb Your Enthusiasm, for one. Can’t remember there being much T&A on that show.

        Even The Sopranos wasn’t as over the top in that department as GoT, despite one of the wiseguys owning a strip club.

        1. Deadwood’s main set was a saloon, yet nudity was relatively rare and almost always not glamorous.

          1. I’d go farther and say Deadwood’s nudity was damn near repellent.

      2. “Silicon Valley” is remarkably free of nudity. Especially of the main female character, Monica.

        1. “Silicon Valley” could have had a completely different meaning.

          1. That would Silicone Valley.

    3. I fear you’re correct about The Night Of, and frankly I don’t see how they can wrap it up.

    4. It is not a typical film, which again is what makes it intriguing. Plus, there is hot nudity at the end.

      “I just wanted you to know that you are really my best man – problem is I am a criminal man who doesn’t care and your problem is….you care too much.”

    1. Let’s try and cut down on the gratuitous puns, ok?-D

  7. I won’t be bothering you any time, Nick. Time spent with anyone who thinks John Oliver’s English-accented, snotty mouthed, eye-rolling, face-pulling hyperbolic proggie propaganda bullshit is “intellectually challenging” would be time better spent recycling pocket lint.

    1. Seriously. If HBO really wanted to be challenging or edgy they would put on something besides the predictable, comforting lukewarm milk liberalism of Oliver, guaranteed to send all good little SJWs off to bed smugly secure in their little bubble.

    2. Oliver sometimes gets it right. Not often, but sometimes.

    3. I agree with you. When a writer’s taste in entertainment varies from mine they are off my reading list, I can tell you that much.

      1. Nick didn’t say Oliver was “entertaining”, he said Oliver was “intellectually challenging”. Oliver might provide entertainment to a certain type of mind, but there’s nothing intellectual about him, except to those who conflate proggie smugness with intellectuality.

        1. Agreed.

          No clue what he means by ‘intellectually challenging’.

          To me, that would apply to say, reading Russel’s ‘A History of Western Philosophy’.

          1. It forces you to think, Rufus. Gosh.

            1. What force is doing the forcing?

          2. Perhaps he meant that John Oliver is intellectually challenging like an ice cream headache.

            1. Let’s not equate simplistic Oliver with the rather complex explanation of “Brain Freeze”.

              1. Intellectually challenging like a hangover?

                1. Intellectually challenging like a foot long segment of rebar protruding through your skull.

                  1. Intellectually challenging like a foot long segment of rebar protruding through your skull.

                    Not the best analogy either. It takes some serious skill to extract one of those…

                    1. Had the bar entered at a fractionally different angle, it would have almost certainly penetrated Mr Ho’s brain or eyeball, causing serious injury or death.

                      “Almost” penetrated his brain? Look, you stupid bastard, the thing went clean through your head!

                2. Intellectually challenging like a hangover?

                  You’re getting warmer…

                  However, these gals have some excellent recommendations (except eating breakfast the next morning – N/V likelihood is still quite likely. But, if you can tolerate small amounts of food, go for it.)

                  I’ll add one more: 400mg of ibuprofen (800 mg max if you plan on heavy drinking) and 1 Pepcid (preferably a chewable one) about an hour before imbibing. Can testify to this one personally.

                  1. What can you recommend for sleeplessness? I’ve been a… routine… drinker for the past couple years, and the worst aspect of cutting back is having to cultivate a sleepy disposition at bedtime. I’m trying to not abuse the benadryl quite so much.

                    1. I gotcha…

                      Well, besides good, old fashioned regular exercise (in this case, a mix of light cardio and some moderate resistance training in the weight room) as part of a daily routine can really help assist the other two suggestions:

                      1) Sex. A vigorous romp can really help with the feeling of somnolence, and can help to induce it naturally. You’ll need an actual partner for this one though, since this method tends not to work

                      2) Melatonin can be really effective for a number of people, espcially those reducing a routine, heavy alcohol intake.

                    2. Really, though? I’ve been skeptical of hormone ingestion since the whole growth hormone thing. They aren’t just metabolized like everything else?

                    3. Unlike HGH, melatonin is quite safe. Besides helping you sleep, melatonin has anti-aging benefits. It has immune boosting, anti-cancer, and neuroprotective properties.

                    4. Really, though? I’ve been skeptical of hormone ingestion since the whole growth hormone thing. They aren’t just metabolized like everything else?

                      Almost *Everything* is metabolised in the body in some form (even stuff that excreted relatively unchanged if dosage is too high – simply means the body can’t break it down – but can be directly used by the body. Think megadoses of citric acid.) The body directly uses whatever melatonin is present, and will utilise higher amounts until the brain’s circadian rhythms normalise. It’s not “wasted”, per se. Any level over what is need to normalise is simply broken down at that point, since there aren’t areas to store excess melatonin.

                      I can personally attest to melatonin’s efficacy (it was the best during residency for helping to get myself back on track after routine, 36 hour shifts).

                    5. Thanks, friend. I will try it out.

                      Now, about those sexual romps… *glances around nervously*

                    6. Now, about those sexual romps… *glances around nervously*

                      Find a nice Russian or Ukrainian wimminz – I can also attest to that one personally.-))) As can Cliche Bandit, and a couple of other laddies in these here parts. I have found Ru-Kru married life….vigorous and blissful.-D

                      Time to go scrub & slice & dice.-D

                    7. I’m trying to not abuse the benadryl quite so much.

                      This is not the best, since like with long term benzodiapines, prolonged use of Benadryl, even at lower doses (like recommended) almost always results in a sleep disorder called, “rebound REM”, meaning, you’ll sleep, but the quality and ability to reach REM sleep decreases over a period of time. This is basically what booze does over a period of time: heavy drinking leads to “anaesthetic somnolence” – you’re out physically, but your brain isn’t in REM mode for sleep.

                      If you need RX, like Ativan or Xanax, do so with caution, and as a last resort. I’d also recommend Lunesta before going the route of the Bezos, honestly.

                    8. Didn’t see this last night so you probably won’t read this, but I recommend marijuana. As a lifelong insomniac, it’s a beautiful thing to effortlessly zonk out…

                3. Presumably Nick meant ‘intellectually challenged’ and auto-correct f’d it up.

    4. Translation:

      Nick, us true “libertarians” despise John Oliver and Bill Maher because they are not TEAM RED! wingnuts. Us true “libertarians” like Fox News and Red Eye!

      1. How’s your stock doing, bro?
        52 week high for me on Friday. Again.

        1. 52 week high for me on Friday.

          Quit ripping on that bong, bro. Jesus.

    1. I’ve already seen that movie.

  8. “The Night of” is like a “Law and Order” if it was on HBO.

    1. It’s very realistic, well-acted and features eczema-covered feet.

      1. I’d say “dramatic” than realistic in the literal, rather than metaphorical, sense. It was a pretty good series. I was hoping for the defendant to recover a memory of actually killing the woman after the mistrial but it was more like a Perry Mason ending, if HBO did a Perry Mason reboot like they should.

        1. Realistic in the sense that it shows a fairly accurate portrayal of America’s criminal justice system.

          1. No it doesn’t. The D.A. would’ve retried that case, the homicide dick would’ve suppressed any evidence pointing to another killer, the defense attorney would’ve leaned much harder for the client to take a plea bargain unless he thought it was a slam-dunk aquittal. Damn boy, this is Reason don’t you read your Balko?

            Every character in the criminal justice system acted contrary to the way they do in real life. This was Law and Order-level fiction like I first said.

            1. There is no Jack McCoy (his daughter’s nude scene from Inherent Vice should be on your “fashion” blog in its entirety), and there is no Jerry Orbach. So there.

              1. Oedipa Maas is the only Pynchon character I recall as being described as a regular girdle-wearer.

  9. …and whatever century Game of Thrones is set in.

    A distant future one. Duh.

    1. That is for when they tackle “Wheel of Time”.

      1. Tits & Channeling, sign me up!

  10. And, bee tee dubs, Ballers is pretty much just lifestyle porn. Vice Principals made the ballsy move even for HBO to show somewhat explicit teen sex. It was a reveal played for laughs (which it got from me), but I’m surprised they didn’t get flack.

  11. Comcast is also a product of freewheeling capitalism.

    1. Tony, that might be the most ignorant comment yet from you.

      [pins medal on Tony’s chest]

      1. Nah, it is still his comment on how being hit by a bus leads to pregnancy.

        1. Well, that’s at least theoretically possible, if the bus driver flies through the windshield with an adrenaline stiffy while his pants get caught on the gear shift and he lands on the woman who fell backwards spread-eagled from the hit. But Comcast a product of freewheeling capitalism? I don’t see how.

          1. “Freewheeling” = decades of government created monopolies in the cable TV market. Pay no attention to the regulations behind the curtain.

              1. Which is exactly my point — except it goes way back before broadband to when all you could get from a cable was analog TV. It’s cronyism and government control all through Comcast’s supposedly capitalist history: the wheel (or market) was never free. You didn’t think somebody actually agreed with Tony, did you?

        2. “Hilary said a few harmless fibs. Fiorina’s lies got people killed.”

          Absolute mastery of trolldom, never to be matched.

          1. Someone, somewhere needs to compile a list of Tony’s Greatest Hits for Non Sequitur: The Album, a compendium of Tony’s most puerile and inane bloviations in the Goodthinknik, spoken word-verse format.

  12. Wait, Vice Principals has Walton Goggins? Ok, I might have to watch that.

    1. And his character dresses like Gilmore.

      1. Which version? Not Dennis I hope.

        1. He acts like Dennis but dresses like Gilmore.

          1. Sorry, cardigans and bow ties aren’t really my thing.

            I’m pretty boring; by design.

            1. I’m pretty sure I know how you dress more than you know how you dress.

              But sure, this is not a gif of you celebrating a fine Reason comment.

  13. Sounds great but who can afford it? Well, let me know what happens I guess.

    1. You can’t afford $15 a month? Jill Stein staff salaries are that low?

      1. Salary? No, she won’t even share her Netflix password with us. I miss Bernie.

      2. It is probably referring to the price of a cable package that includes HBO, rather than the newfangled HBOGo dohickey.

  14. Of course, the boundaries associated with the commercial cable networks are also the result of economic freedom. What HBO offers is not everyone’s cup of tea. While I like many of HBO’s offerings, a complete lack of restraining influence can lead to self-indulgent art that has limited appeal except to a niche audience.

    1. HBO is coming up against Netflix, Amazon, Hulu etc. for compelling programming, and it’s that crucible of competition that’s churning out genuinely entertaining programming. It’s the old-school network formula that’s generating the schlock (Big Bang Theory and all that); if it’s a choice between lowest common denominator and potentially navel-gazing masturbation, I’ll risk it with the latter.

  15. HBO isn’t perfect, by any means. They passed on Mad Men, for example.

    The nude possibilities lost…

    1. What was going on in Stan Rizzo’s shorts, am I right?

  16. Greatly trimmed back on our cable since I’m on a fixed income now. I don’t get HBO any more (I KNOWWWWW, right?!).

    I don’t miss it. I read more, and very carefully glean the basic cable for non-dreck to fill in some TV time. I mostly miss all the gun shows.

    TV became moot for me when ALL the international motorcycle track racing went to computer-based delivery (MotoGP, WSBK, MotoAmerica)…I didn’t spring for the fee. I kind of miss it – might pay up next year if I live that long. Supercross fills some of the gap (not a motocross fan, nor Arenacross). And I don’t get the odd Flat Track any more since we lost MAV TV….Thursday night flattrack was the shit. Soooo – might spring, might not. We’ll see.

    1. Finally catching up on all those back issues of Penthouse Forum, eh?

    2. It’s very easy to not miss TV.

      But when it’s around, it’s just as easy to get into it.

      Reading is definitely a fantastic alternative.

    3. ALMANIAN! I hope you are keep on keeping on as best as your condition allows, and I often wonder what your prognosis is these days. Your absence is duly (and sadly) noted.

      Just wanted to let you know that one of the US expats in my neighborhood has this bumper sticker on his car, and I immediately thought of the Almanian/SMOD 2016 Ticket (Cthulu is out, since we’ve already lost the coveted Tentacle Pr0N endorsement).

    4. Almanian, always good to read your comments.

      I’ve found that the CLE public library has a remarkable (and surprising -Shakes the Clown Inappropriate comedy, Aristocrats) collection of movies. Whenever one of the commentariat recommends one that seems interesting I can usually have it in a few days. Lots of TV series as well.

  17. Sorry to break into the TV reviews, but a ‘top Clinton Foundation official’ is now offering the “Hey! Look over there!” defense:

    “Clinton Foundation official plays defense over accusations”
    […]
    “A top Clinton Foundation official defended its “lifesaving work” Sunday amid new criticism and pay-to-play accusations over Hillary Clinton’s connections to its top donors.
    “None of the Clintons have ever taken a salary and don’t profit from the foundation,” Craig Minassian, the Clinton Foundation’s chief communications officer, told MSNBC. ”
    http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/28/…..index.html

    Which seems to be a classic of ‘question begging’; no one ever suggested the foundation didn’t use some of the money for ‘good works’, and that hypocrite Buffett doesn’t get much of a ‘salary’ either.
    Now, did that hag use it to sell political access (which I’m pretty sure would amount to ‘profiting from it’)? ABC sure thinks so and so did the foundation staff:
    “Clinton Foundation Official Requests State Lunch Invitation, Special Seating for Foundation Allies, Emails Show”
    […]
    “In one December 2010 email chain with Clinton’s closest aide Huma Abedin, then-top Clinton Foundation official Doug Band offers names for a State Department lunch with Chinese President Hu Jintao scheduled for January 2011.”
    (no link; ABC no like. Search “abc clinton foundation provides political access”)

    1. I bet you less than 25% of the money that’s supposed to go to whatever charities gets there. You have to be some kind of naif to not think something is not right with this foundation; just like the emails.

      1. What percentage of Clinton Foundation money goes to real and actual charities that are not controlled by the Clintons?

        If you define “actual charities not controlled by the Clintons” as “programmatic grants,” then it appears the number is 15%, with 85% staying with the foundation itself:

        Between 2009 and 2012, the Clinton Foundation raised over $500 million dollars according to a review of IRS documents by The Federalist (2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008). A measly 15 percent of that, or $75 million, went towards programmatic grants. More than $25 million went to fund travel expenses(1). Nearly $110 million went toward employee salaries and benefits. And a whopping $290 million during that period ? nearly 60 percent of all money raised ? was classified merely as “other expenses.” …The Clinton Foundation may well be saving lives, but it seems odd that the costs of so many life-saving activities would be classified by the organization itself as just random, miscellaneous expenses.

        “Non-partisan” Politifact did not like this, and offered this ‘rebuttal’
        (below)

        1. There’s a grain of truth here — roughly 85 percent of the foundation’s spending was for items other than charitable grants to other organizations, and a large chunk of this 85 percent did go to Clinton Foundation staff for travel, salaries and benefits. However, the foundation says it does most of its charitable work in-house, and it’s not credible to think that the foundation spent zero dollars beyond grants on any charitable work, which is what it would take for Limbaugh to be correct.

          The claim contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression, so we rate it Mostly False.

          Translation = “The facts cited are all true. BUT!! we suggest that there are other – described as *CRITICAL* – ‘facts’ which put these in context.”

          They do not cite what any of these “critical facts” are.
          They simply say that “Well, they MUST be doing something productive with all that money”.

          “Grain of truth” is “the entirety

          1. The charities are just there to keep the heat of the foundation.

            Hello.

            Street smarts 101.

            1. “150 Hells Angels bikes deliver toys to needy kids”
              […]
              “During its 11th annual one-day toy run Sunday, the Hells Angels Mesa Charter collected 512 toys and $800 for the center. The run began at Tempe’s Tri-City Eagles and ended at Arizona Joe’s in Apache Junction.
              “We probably had 150 bikes,” Morgan said, noting that although the biker gang has gained a bad reputation in the past, events such as the annual run show that many club members are interested in helping others.
              http://archive.azcentral.com/n…..z4Igg2t9rX

              1. “noting that although the biker gang has gained a bad reputation in the past, events such as the annual run show that many club members are interested in helping others.”

                Classic.

                1. Well, ya know, they ARE! Helping others to see a group of thugs in a different manner.
                  Dunno if you get the Harley gangs in CDN. In the US, it’s not a secret that most of them are funded with drug money (THX, Obo!), but (or as a result) most have the resources to hire a good LLD who also typically directs some PR measures.
                  And, like Clinton, some people fall for it; ‘what a cute teddy bear!’

                  1. Of course we do. Hells have a chapter up here and Quebec not too long ago experienced a violent turf war between the Angels and a gang called The Rock Machine reaching an apex when a bomb set for the enemy also killed an eight year-old boy. Then came the crack down. I even know someone who got caught in the net. Drawn machine guns and helicopters; the whole kit.

                    1. Hope no one else got sucked in, and sorry to hear about the kid.
                      So no cute teddy bears? Like most of ’em here, most all the time.

              2. I carry no brief for the Hells Angels, but note that it is outrageous for you to compare them with the Clinton Foundation. Have you no decency, sir!

          2. Of course the money is going to their “Life changing work.” They’re working to change everyone’s life by getting Hillary elected…

        2. This is all you need to know about so-called Politifact.

          1. I doubt any of those people ever voted Republican.

        3. Charity Navigator ( http://www.charitynavigator.org/ ) was very careful in pointing out that they did not propose or oppose the CF (as would I be if I were in a position to draw the Clinton wrath). They said that it simply ‘did not meet their business model’.
          Now, like a for-profit business, there are limited ways in which you can organize same to make it workable and understandable to those whom you would consider ‘customers’ (right Reason Foundation?). And since you want as many ‘customers’ (donors) as possible, you strive to make it understandable and transparent.
          Well, unless maybe you don’t want ‘many customers’, just those willing to pay the price to buy the goods.

    2. It’s all in the Form 990, page 27 with details following.

      Line 12 – Total Revenues $149 million
      Line 13 – Grants $9 million

      The rest of the money went to paying for conferences, travel, salaries, benefits, and … ummm … “other”.

    3. don’t profit from the foundation

      Profit doesn’t mean just taking money directly and they most certainly were profiting from the foundation.

  18. Mullah bemoans corrupting influence of SpongeBob Squarepants:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmXTrTluab8

    Meanwhile, Egyptian military releases cheesy propaganda video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNTlM_fcMHs

    It’s funny because Egypt has been conquered about a dozen times.

    1. Kuwaiti Preacher Nabil Al-Awadi says: SpongeBob is a Sissy, Sandy a Butch

      He is not factually incorrect.

  19. Relevant for the dingdong NFL player who thinks the US is sooooo racist:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXCL1oRa3BI

      1. They were only concerned about the players’ possible hypokalaemic nutritional deficit and wanted to ensure staving off cramps.

        1. Ah, I see.

          How thoughtful of them.

          1. How thoughtful of them.

            Not quite, avocados have more potassium than ‘nanners do. Not sure hurling spinach would have gone over well, either.)

            1. The avocado has to be one of the least compatible fruits for in-the-hand consumption. Leathery skin over easily mashed pulp, and as a prize, in the middle you get a pit that’s impossible to gain traction on.

              “Hey, primates, fuck you!”
              -Avocado Trees

        2. The dude picking up the banana and eating it was perfect.

    1. Colin Kaepernick is an idiot.

      As if that weren’t enough, Kaepernick, despite being paid over $19 million, is currently being beaten out by Blaine Gabbert to be the starting quarterback for the 49ers this year. It would be one thing if Kaepernick had made this statement as one of the top quarterbacks in the league — which at one point he was — instead this just looks like the desperate and unsubstantiated rantings of someone who is aware he will soon fall back into football oblivion. What’s more, this also gives him a convenient excuse if he’s benched or released by the 49ers, they did this based on my political opinions, not based on my talent. Maybe that will make him feel better when he’s unemployed, but it shouldn’t.

      Methinks this was a strategic ploy for a man going under.

      1. “Methinks this was a strategic ploy for a man going under.”

        Possibly, but if so, it came from his agent.
        If you’ve read his comments over the years, presuming some 6D chess from the man is expecting entirely too much.
        More likely a desperate, and stupid, tactical attempt to gain notoriety.

    2. I believe his teenaged mother gave him up for adoption after his black father abandoned her, and he was adopted by a white couple. He is also an incredible athlete, and I assume life became fairly easy for him once his talent emerged. That makes him a terrible spokesman for the issue. His success (he signed a contract guaranteeing him $61 million, which I’m sure he had to work hard for to earn, but still ) in life is not the story of a person who was hampered by a racist society.

      He should stop reading communist websites on the Internet, and should instead focus on once again being a good quarterback. Then again the money is guaranteed, so go make pointless political statements and have a great time doing it.

      1. “He is a modern-day version of Tommie Smith and John Carlos!”

        – Every terribly clich?d white, guilty, smug sports journalist.

      2. Guilty pleasure; I have to admit to watching a couple of pre-season games, mostly because of an ‘analyst’ (dunno who gets what label).
        Anyhow, he pointed out that EVERY player deals with fundamentals in the training room. EVERY one! Run up those stadium stairs! Shove that blocking dummy!
        What sets one apart from the other is the time spent watching films; it’s what makes a player good from the neck up. You take a set for a play, and after watching hours of film of that team, you look over their set and adjust.
        Ever see a side-line shot of Kaep with headphones on (not his ‘brand’)? Ever see a shot of him examining (what’s now) the screen shots?
        Me neither. He’s a wonderful athlete and a dumb shit who’s grabbed on to a ’cause’ in the hopes he’s remembered for other than being a dumb shit.

  20. Seems silly the idea that traveling back in time to kill Hitler to stop World War 1 and 2. I’d pretty much would make sure he get into that Art School he was so eager to get into.

    *sigh*

    I’m . . . I’m going to go lie down.

    http://kotaku.com/only-bob-ros…..1785872985

    1. Okay, the video, though. That’s pretty good.

    1. For several years people have tried to find out who exactly was behind the website Snopes.com. Only recently did they get to the bottom of it.

      Is the author serious? I’ve known for at least a decade that the site is run by Barbara and David Mikkelson. Its not been a secret. Most of the entries have her name appended to them as the author.

      So if you really want to know the truth about a story or a rumor you have heard, by all means do not go to Snopes.com!

      Sure – they’re not perfect and have their own biases. That’s *obviously* reason enough to disregard all the work they’ve done. If you stay away from the political shit, they’ve been pretty freaking good. But, since eveythign is political now, that means you still have to shun them as unclean.

      1. I used to be a big fan of Snopes, but the site is going downhill and seems to think it’s Politifact now. Barbara hasn’t written anything new I’ve seen in ages; it’s mostly a new team of writers and David. Check out their article on the U Chicago Trigger Warning Letter for an example of bias — instead of just verifying the letter came from UC and moving on, the bulk of the article tries to argue that concerns about trigger warnings and campus PC are silly based on… a Huffpo article. Seriously. Somebody should tell Robbie and FIRE they’re obviously worked up over nothing.

        It’s a shame, because Snopes used to be so useful.

        1. Make that “Robby” not Robbie. In my defense, I was blinded by the hair.

  21. John Oliver is never “intellectually challenging”. He doesn’t offer any new ideas or challenge his watchers’ views at all. All he does is repackage the same exact liberal lines with a cheeky British accent and an excessive amount of snarky douchebaggery.

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