The ramifications of the Fairfax/Macquarie Radio merger continued to unfold today.
Brisbane’s only commercial talk station lost most of its local shows with the breakfast, morning, afternoon, evening, and weekend presenters all sacked along with the staff who worked on their shows. Fairfax/Macquarie (what is their name these days?) Chief Operating Officer Adam Lang said in a press statement that the aim is to send some staff to roles in other radio stations in the network, but it seems clear that this will only happen for a very small number of staff.
At the moment, the new 4BC lineup has not been announced, but the word is that 2GB’s Alan Jones, Ray Hadley, and Chris Smith will all have their shows broadcast live on 4BC from Monday. With Alan Jones taking next week off and Chris Smith
likely to fill in for him also on holidays apparently, it will probably be a while before 4BC’s audience has the faintest clue who should be on the radio at any given time. There is no word on what will happen to 4BC at night, although it seems clear that programming will emanate from Sydney…either 2UE’s Sports Today and Mike Jeffreys or 2GB’s Money News and Steve Price. Weekends look set to be entirely Sydney-based programming apart from local news bulletins. No word as yet on the future of 4BC’s Sports Today program (Update 5:53pm: Former 4BC presenter Ian Maurice reports 4BC’s Sports Today has been axed. Weekday drive from 3pm is now the only remaining local show. End Update) but I won’t be surprised if it gets replaced by 2UE’s show of the same name.
For 4BC, this puts them in what I would consider an embarrassing position for a capital city talk station where they have less local content than some regional stations. 2CC Canberra, for example, will have roughly double the amount of local content of 4BC, and probably more once weekends are added to the equation. In a market where there are multiple commercial talk stations this might not matter too much (most US markets for example have multiple commercial talk stations, and even if they individually don’t have much local programming, you can almost always find something local on at least one of them during daylight hours), but when it is the only commercial talk station in the market it is a very sad situation indeed.
I will add one caveat to this…4BC has been performing very poorly in the ratings of late and this move might just be a way of buying Fairfax/Macquarie time to figure out how to rebuild 4BC with some local content in the future, without burning cash on shows which nobody is listening to at the moment. If that is the plan, then it might be fair enough even if it is a shame in the short term. If not, then I expect somebody in the next couple of years to flip an existing music station in to a local talk station to fill a void in the market.
4BC’s sister station, Magic 882, was not spared from the cuts and lost evening presenter Jo Henderson.
Meanwhile at 2UE, afternoon presenter Angela Catterns is the first show host to be shown the door under the new regime. It seems that she was told about her fate after her show had ended and was not given an opportunity to say goodbye to her audience. The sacked 4BC presenters were at least aware they were having a meeting about their fate after their respective shows today and had a chance to say something to their audiences. There is no information whatsoever on who or what will fill her timeslot, but given the cost-cutting going on around the network, I’d be surprised if somebody is just put in to her timeslot. Instead I’m tipping existing daytime shows to be extended and/or some daytime programming to come from 3AW in Melbourne.
Update 11:20pm: With thanks to kj who left a tipoff in the comments below, 2UE have confirmed that existing daytime shows will be extended to cover Angela Catterns’ timeslot. Stuart Bocking’s show has been extended by two hours and will now run from 9am until 2pm, and Justin Smith’s show has been extended by one hour and will now run from 2pm until 6pm.
I will simply say this. Stuart Bocking is more than capable of hosting an interesting five hours of radio day in and day out, but I worry about the quality of that timeslot when Stuart is away and a fill-in host has to fill that much time over multiple days or weeks. End Update
Also at 2UE, weekend powerhouse duo George Moore and Paul B. Kidd have picked an interesting weekend to have some time off. They announced at the end of their show on Sunday that they would be having this weekend off and will return next weekend. Although they are undoubtedly the most popular presenters on the station, I do have to wonder if they were a tad strategic with their timing…with all the changes going on, it is inevitable that people will hear their absence tomorrow, fear the worst, and voice their displeasure to 2UE…proving their value to Management at this point in time might actually be a very clever decision, even if it does turn out to be a purely coincidental absence.
Update 8:30pm: I have received an email asking about the fate of 4BC afternoon (12pm – 3pm) presenter Clare Blake. As far as I know, Clare has survived but her show probably won’t continue in its current form for very long as Chris Smith’s 2GB afternoon show is likely to be broadcast in to Brisbane. I can’t confirm anything about Clare at the moment but I am confident that she is continuing at 4BC as, apart from the bit of information I’ve received, her profile is still on 4BC’s website whereas almost all the sacked people have been removed from 4BC and 2UE’s websites. End Update
April 10th, 2015 at 05:27pm
The first major change in the merger of Fairfax and Macquarie Radio Networks has occurred this hour with Sydney’s 6pm news bulletin being the last one produced by the station’s own newsroom in Greenwich. The next news bulletin at 7pm will be produced at 2GB’s studios in Pyrmont and will be the same Macquarie National News heard on 2GB.
The 2UE news bulletin, read by Matt McDonald and Glen Lauder, included a report from 2UE’s Robert Spicer about the closure of the newsroom. Matt McDonald, 2UE’s news director, also had his own personal message at the end of the weather, as did John Gibbs at the start of the 6pm show Sports Today. I also note 2GB’s Ben Fordham had some nice words for staff at 2GB and 2UE at the end of his show as well.
2UE’s 6pm news and start of Sports Today:
A number of journalists at 2UE and 2GB have lost their jobs today as the newsrooms more-or-less merge. To those staying and those going, I wish you all the best of luck. I will be interested to see what happens to veteran 2UE morning newsreader Steve Blanda who went on leave at the end of last week, stating that he would be on leave for four weeks and didn’t know if he will be back. I hope he is.
It’s possible that this might not be the last thing produced in the 2UE newsroom in Greenwich as they have also been producing a three minute pre-feed news at ten minutes to the hour for a lot of regional stations. Production of that will shift to Pyrmont, but I’ll be interested to see if it goes tonight or tomorrow or at some stage in the future. I will keep you posted.
update 6:40pm: 2GB’s Pyrmont newsroom has been producing a pre-recorded news bulletin for sister station 2CH. This news bulletin has been shorter than 2UE’s prefed news (two minutes rather than three minutes) and has started with the line “With the latest Macquarie National News, I’m (name)”. I can confirm that the 6pm news on 2CH started simply with the presenter introducing himself “I’m Beau Mitchem” which is the format currently used for 2UE’s prefed news. It also ended with the line used on 2UE’s prefed news “that’s the latest news and sport” which is a change from the old ending line “that’s the latest Macquarie National News”. It did, however, run for just two minutes as has been the standard for 2CH’s pre-recorded news, but clearly changes are in the works. end update
Update 6:58pm The 3min 2UE prefeed is now being produced by 2GB. The first one has been read by Beau Mitchem. end update
Update 7:05pm 2GB has taken over production of the Fairfax 3 minute prefeed, and it has replaced the 2CH prefeed. The 3 minute prefeed bulletin just aired on 2CH and it was exactly the same bulletin as was available on the Fairfax Radio News app. 2UE and 2GB just aired their first joint bulletin, also read by Beau Mitchem. Audio of these bulletins will be forthcoming in a few minutes once I organise the recordings. End Update
For the purposes of preserving the last moments of the 2UE newsroom, the standalone 2GB newsroom, and the first moments of the newly-networked 2GB newsroom, here is some more audio from 6pm and 7pm.
2GB’s 6pm news, read by Amie Meehan. This was 2GB’s last production of Macquarie National News as a standalone entity.
2CH’s 6pm news, read by Beau Mitchem. Recorded shortly before 6pm, this was Macquarie’s last pre-recorded news produced solely for 2CH.
Fairfax Radio’s 6pm national prefeed news, read by Lucy Brennan. This was recorded at 5:50pm and would have aired on a number of stations around the country. It was the last prefed news bulletin to emanate from 2UE’s Greenwich studios. (bulletin only with no opener as it was downloaded from Fairfax Radio’s website).
From 7pm, 2GB’s Pyrmont studios took over production of these news services. Here is the live 2UE/2GB news as read by Beau Mitchem:
To my ear it sounds slightly clearer on 2GB, which would only be because it can be pumped directly in to the on-air equipment at Pyrmont, and for 2UE it would have to go over a network link and go to air via the on-air equipment at Greenwich, a situation which will probably change in coming months assuming 2UE gets moved to the Pyrmont studios.
7pm Fairfax National News prefeed read by Beau Mitchem, recorded at 6:50pm. This news runs for 3 minutes, whereas the old 2CH pre-record ran for two minutes.
This is audio of it airing on 2CH at 7pm. As 2CH is going to be sold in the coming months for legal reasons, I have included the weather and start of the show after the news as I expect the station’s imaging will probably change once a new owner takes charge.
I should also note that Frankster over at Frankster’s Archive was recording 2UE’s 6pm news from DAB+ digital radio. The difference in audio quality between that and 2UE’s webstream is noticeable. If you want to take a listen he has the audio on his website.
Audio credit: Macquarie Radio Network/Fairfax Radio Network
April 9th, 2015 at 06:21pm
With the Queensland election in full swing, it seems like an appropriate time to revisit the man who could be considered the most well-known Queensland politician of all time, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen. Regardless of how you viewed him, television satire program Fast Forward had a very amusing version of him. In my view, their sketch where Sir Joh was a contestant on Sale Of The Century alongside Jana Wendt is one of their best bits of work.
January 16th, 2015 at 10:28am
Tony Abbott’s decision last year to abandon proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act whereby the silly and restrictive section 18C was to be removed, was a disgrace in my view, and an absolute betrayal of the mainly conservative voters who trusted him ensure that freedom of speech, a cornerstone of any free society, was protected.
So it was with a small amount of pleasure in recent days that I saw something good come out of the awful terrorist attack on satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo…the calls to scrap this section of the law were renewed, mainly because it is quite clear that the magazine would almost certainly be in contravention of this section of the law if it was an Australian publication. Simon Breheny from the Institute of Public Affairs summed this up very well the other day:
Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) makes it unlawful to “offend, insult humiliate or intimidate” a person on the grounds of “race, colour or national or ethnic origin”. Section 18C was the provision used against News Corp Australia journalist Andrew Bolt in 2011 for two columns he had published in 2009.
“This week leaders from around the world have united to defend the right of publications like Charlie Hebdo to publish content that is offensive to some,” says Mr Breheny.
“But a publication such as Charlie Hebdo would struggle to survive in Australia, due to laws that censor offensive, insulting, humiliating and intimidating speech. Section 18C could be used against the publishers of cartoons that satirise figures based on their race or ethnicity. Content not caught by section 18C would almost certainly be censored by current state religious vilification laws, which are specifically designed to target the kind of content published in Charlie Hebdo.”
“The attack on Charlie Hebdo is an attack on freedom of expression. And as Prime Minister Tony Abbott rightly noted in response to this atrocity, ‘Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of a free society.'”
For a little while there I thought there was some hope that sanity would prevail, and the silly idea to abandon the plan to repeal section 18C would be washed away by a renewed effort to enshrine freedom of speech in law, in an effort to show that we won’t kowtow to attempts by terrorists to intimidate us in to silence. Alas, instead, I found myself screaming at the radio yesterday when clips of Tony Abbott being interviewed on 3AW were played.
“I would prefer that 18c were not in its current terms but we made an attempt to amend it, it was obvious that that attempt to amend it was generating a lot of division in the community,” he said.
“The government made the decision not to proceed with it at this time and that remains the government’s position.”
(h/t Latika Bourke, Sydney Morning Herald)
Well that’s just silly Tony. The main reason for abandoning the changes was a perception that it was upsetting the Muslim community. Since the atrocities in France last week, the Muslim community and pretty much every other group which appeared to oppose the repeal of 18C have come out in support of freedom of speech, and in particular the type of speech which Charlie Hebdo published…this amounts to supporting the repeal of 18C. To not take advantage of this rare solidarity in favour of freedom of speech is either a boneheaded decision, or indicative of some other agenda…I honestly don’t know which one I’d prefer it to be. On the one hand one doesn’t want boneheaded decisions from governments (but they’re not uncommon), but on the other it can be very difficult to trust a government which has hidden and unknown motives.
But Tony wasn’t done.
Mr Abbott made his pledge [to repeal section 18C] after the laws were successfully used against News Corporation commentator Andrew Bolt in 2011 after he claimed a group of prominent Aborigines used their skin colour to seek professional advantages.
The Prime Minister said the Andrew Bolt prosecution was an “aberration”.
“I don’t believe that we are likely to see an Andrew Bolt prosecution again. If we do, let’s rethink things,” he said.
(h/t Latika Bourke, Sydney Morning Herald)
This is what really had me screaming at the radio. The law is broken and people who oppose freedom of speech know that it can be used to silence people who say things which offend anyone. Everyone in the country knows this law is an assault on freedom of speech (even if some would characterise it as some sort of necessary protection), and there is an opportunity to fix it right now. This is a rare opportunity which probably won’t last for long. It is inevitable that somebody will offend somebody else at some stage in the future and end up being silence by a court under this law…it might not be as high-profile a case as Andrew Bolt’s case, but it will happen. There is an opportunity to prevent this travesty of justice from happening, but it seems that Tony Abbott is comfortable to let it happen and only consider fixing it after the damage is done once again.
Ignoring a broken law will not magically fix the law.
Tony Abbott’s promise to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act was one of the core reasons for him having my full support, and was more important to me than some of the policies with which I took issue (such as Paid Parental Leave and Direct Action when Tony knows as well as I do that global warming does not require a government response). While I’m pleased with the work on stopping the flood of illegal immigrants and am seeing some slow progress on repairing the budget, I feel very betrayed by this unwillingness to do the right thing and follow through on the common-sense promise to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
This sort of betrayal makes small parties look appealing. Perhaps Tony Abbott should think about that before he next complains about his policies being obstructed by the small cross-bench parties.
January 15th, 2015 at 10:06am
The best rugby league commentator in the business is calling it a day at 2GB and The Continuous Call Team, and is off to the ABC. Andrew’s last day at 2GB will be Friday of this week when he finishes up his final show filling in for breakfast presenter Alan Jones.
Andrew Moore in the 2GB Studios during a live cross to Seven’s Sunrise program, as seen on the 2GB webcam. 13 July, 2012. Image credit: Macquarie Radio Network
An announcement was made today about Andrew’s departure although at this stage there has not been an official announcement about Andrew joining ABC Grandstand, however I have had it confirmed that Andrew has signed a contract with the ABC and it has been common knowledge at 2GB for a number of weeks.
Andrew’s departure leaves quite a hole in 2GB’s top rating rugby league coverage. Andrew was chief commentator for a few years when Ray Hadley reduced his radio commentary commitments and expanded to television commentary, however Ray resumed his role as chief commentator of The Continuous Call Team last year, taking over some of Andrew’s games. This is the third high-profile departure from 2GB’s Continuous Call Team in the space of a year, as they lost commentator Joel Caine last year in a dispute with rival NRL broadcaster Triple M over Joel’s role as a betting odds spruiker on both stations, and expert comments man Steve “Blocker” Roach late last year in a bullying complaint.
It was rumoured late in last year’s NRL season, a while before Andrew apparently signed with ABC Grandstand, that Andrew would go to the ABC, and sacked ABC commentator David Morrow, a friend of Ray Hadley, would move to 2GB. This is starting to look likely, although there is still the prospect of 2UE’s John Gibbs returning to 2GB’s Continuous Call Team later this year after the merger of the two stations’ respective parent companies is finalised. Only time will tell.
Meanwhile it looks like Steve “Blocker” Roach may become a regular fixture on Triple M’s commentary team after doing some off-season work there.
Andrew’s departure from 2GB leaves more than just a hole in their rugby league ranks, as Andrew was a regular fill-in host for a number of the “big name” hosts such as Alan Jones, Ray Hadley, and Ben Fordham, and hosted his own show “Wake Up Australia” at 4am on weekdays as a lead-in to Alan Jones’ breakfast show. I’m sure the hours were dreadful for Andrew given that he has a family to look after, but I thought Wake Up Australia was a perfect timeslot for him as he was very good at providing some early morning news and commentary while keeping a cheerful persona which works very well at that hour, and is a welcome change from overnight shows dragging their traditionally slower format all the way through to breakfast. I really enjoyed hearing Andrew at that hour, as I was often either finishing work or getting ready to start work…and I will especially miss my occasional chats with Andrew when I would call in at about 4:15am.
Michael McLaren will be taking over Wake Up Australia next week when the show returns from its summer hiatus, however as Michael has his own weekend overnight show, it is unclear if this is a permanent move.
One thing which may work in Andrew’s favour at the ABC is his television experience. For a few years he hosted an NRL panel discussion program for the Ten Network called “The Game Plan”. The show was probably part of Ten’s (sadly) unsuccessful efforts to secure some NRL rights and probably would have resulted in Andrew calling some games for Ten if they had been successful in gaining NRL rights. Alas once Ten’s bid for rights was unsuccessful, The Game Plan’s budget was reduced and it was shifted off to a multi-channel before eventually being cancelled.
Samuel with Andrew Moore in Ten’s Pyrmont studios after the live broadcast of The Game Plan on September 15, 2011.
Unfortunately, unlike 2GB, ABC Grandstand do not usually post their commentator lineup online, so it could be a little difficult to know in advance which games he will be calling. I will certainly be listening to Andrew’s commentary as much as I can, but as I also like various other commentators at 2GB (Ray Hadley and Mark Levy in particular) and Triple M (Dan Ginnane and Anthony Maroon are both great callers, but I think they each work best with certain co-commentators) and so I expect I’m going to have an interesting year trying to figure out which commentary to listen to for any given match.
My very best wishes to Andrew. I hope he has oodles of success at the ABC, and maybe at long last will get to commentate on the Olympics! Good luck buddy!
January 13th, 2015 at 06:57pm
But for two weeks only, and surprisingly it has absolutely nothing to do with the upcoming merger of Fairfax Radio (owner of 4BC) and Macquarie Radio (owner of 2GB).
Radio Today is reporting on the interesting move which will see Alan Jones broadcasting for an extra hour each day. He will present his normal 5:30am – 9am show on 2GB Sydney, and then broadcast for an hour on 4BC from 8am to 9am Queensland time (9am to 10am Sydney time) with a show dealing primarily with the upcoming Queensland election.
According to Radio Today, the show will air on weekdays for two weeks only, starting on Monday January 19, and wrapping up on Friday January 30, the day before the election. No word as yet on whether it will air on Australia Day. The report indicates that this show will only be for 4BC, but I won’t be surprised if it ends up on Macquarie Radio’s regional Queensland stations as well.
I dare say that executives across Fairfax Radio and Macquarie Radio will be keeping an eye on how this show performs, as if it goes well, there is every chance that Alan’s daily hour of highlights show will be fast-tracked in to the 4BC schedule ahead of the merger.
In related news, Alan isn’t the only 2GB presenter returning from holidays next week. I’ve heard promos today for Ben Fordham returning next week. 2GB were originally not going to return to their normal schedule until January 27, but it looks like that has changed and next week’s schedule might be very close to normal, even if one or two people are still away.
January 12th, 2015 at 06:35pm
There has been news over the last couple of days about the Bureau of Meteorology getting a little worked-up about a cyclone developing this week and then hitting the Queensland coast.
A low pressure system is currently over the Coral Sea about 250 to 280 kilometres northeast of Cooktown, north of Cairns.
The Bureau of Meteorology says it’s likely the weather system will move close to the coast north of Cooktown on Tuesday or Wednesday.
(h/t Sky News & AAP)
I thought I’d look in to this as I recently bought and received Ken Ring’s ACT/NSW weather almanac for 2015.
So far Ken has been accurate in my area if I allow a day of leeway. My book focuses on the ACT & NSW area but also contains national predicted synoptic charts and rainfall maps for each day of the year. His national synoptic charts have also been a close match to actual daily measurements, give or take a day.
Ken’s synoptic charts agree with the Bureau about a cyclone forming off the Queensland coast this week, however he does not show it reaching land. Instead he shows it getting close enough to bring some rain, but then it changes direction and hits New Zealand’s North Island. Alas as I don’t have his Queensland or New Zealand almanacs, I don’t have access to his detailed daily predictions for these places and thus don’t know how much rain he expects in Queensland or how strong he thinks the cyclone system will be when it reaches New Zealand.
I’m looking forward to keeping an eye on this one and seeing how Ken’s predictions pan out.
January 12th, 2015 at 06:47am
This was going to form part of a Sunday Bits post, but I don’t have time to finish today’s Sunday Bits before kickoff as my work commitments won’t allow for it.
In today’s games I’m tipping Baltimore to defeat New England, and Seattle to defeat Carolina.
Tomorrow’s games: Green Bay to defeat Dallas, and Indianapolis to defeat Denver.
I really couldn’t decide on the Green Bay & Dallas game, so I went with the result of Glenn Beck’s Moron Trivia, which fills much of the second hour of his radio show on Fridays and involves calling random people in the places from which the teams in one of the weekend’s matches hail, asking them really simple questions (which many answer incorrectly) and deciding the winner of the match based on which location gave the most correct answers. It, surprisingly, has a decent strike rate. As I couldn’t decide on this match, I went with the result of Moron Trivia which gave Green Bay a decent victory.
I should note that these are the only games this weekend. In Australia they are all live on 7mate. In order of the games listed above, they start today at 8:30am and noon, and tomorrow at 5am and 8:30am. All times listed in AEDT.
January 11th, 2015 at 08:26am
It’s that time of year again where 2UE announce a bunch of changes to their presenter lineup. This year it involves the other east coast Fairfax stations in a bit of a shuffle.
The big change at 2UE is that Clive Robertson, the standout weekday ratings performer for the station (I shudder to think how low 2UE’s full-day ratings figures would be without Clive), is out. He is being replaced by Walter Williams whose show will be networked out of 4BC Brisbane. This show will be extended by an hour to run 7pm – Midnight instead of Clive’s timeslot of 8pm-Midnight. Fairfax Radio is saying Clive “decided not to return”, although the impression I’m getting from a few sources is that this is not entirely accurate. I wouldn’t expect to hear anything contradictory to it publicly though, given the contractual obligations on Fairfax and Clive.
This almost certainly means we will hear less of Mike Jeffreys who has been regularly filling-in for Clive.
As part of the Walter Williams move, 2UE’s Sports Today show with John Gibbs will be reduced to one hour, running from 6pm-7pm. Co-Host Greg “Brandy” Alexander left the show at the end of last year to focus on his Fox Sports duties.
2UE and 4BC will continue to run Luke Bona’s overnight show, however in a very unexpected move, 3AW will also take this show, replacing Andrew McLaren (no relation to 2GB’s weekend overnight host Michael McLaren) and Mark Petkovic who were apparently made aware of the decision yesterday. This is a peculiar move for Fairfax Radio in that Andrew and Mark work well in the Melbourne market but when Fairfax tried to network their show in to Sydney, Brisbane and regional markets in recent years it caused a massive listener backlash outside of Melbourne. Sydney presenters also rarely go down well with the Melbourne audience, so if this goes as well as the last overnight networking attempt, Andrew and Mark could be back after a couple months of holidays.
Even more odd for the overnights is that weekend overnights will be networked out of 3AW Melbourne (presumably presented by existing 3AW weekend overnight host Alan Pearsall, unless Andrew and Mark are moved to weekends). Back when the 3AW weekday overnight show was networked, weekends remained separate so that the 3AW show could focus on AFL and the 2UE/4BC show could focus on NRL. It will be interesting to see how 3AW’s show handles NRL discussion. This change also means that 2UE & 4BC’s weekend overnight host John Cadogan is out. He will fill-in for Tim Webster on weekend afternoons this weekend and then will be relegated to the subs bench, awaiting a fill-in job.
Update 6:36pm: A strange thing pops up when one does a Google Image search for “Alan Pearsall Radio”
To the best of my knowledge, Alan Pearsall has only ever hosted a show on 2UE briefly. This was when Tim Shaw in Sydney went on holidays while the Melbourne weekday overnight show was being networked in 2012, and so Alan’s 3AW show was extended to 2UE for two weekends. I’d be surprised if that was a long enough period of time for that image to have been produced, which makes me think it has been produced for the expansion of his 3AW show to the network.
Unfortunately I can’t confirm where or when that image was made as the page Google alleges it is on, shows no sign of it.
Of course, we still have the finalisation of the Fairfax/Macquarie merger to come in a few months, so this could all change again before winter arrives.
For the information in this post, thanks go to a few people who can be named publicly: Jason Morrison, John Cadogan, Ash Long, and Radio Today. Thanks also go to some people who can’t be named…you know who you are.
January 9th, 2015 at 06:12pm
There are a handful of community service announcements being run in the US at the moment reminding people to do some really obvious things such as “vacuum up the floor”. It’s a little hard to tell who the target audience is as they come in the form of bizarre little animated music videos which carry all of the characteristics of an animation aimed at small children, which seems odd for messages which are surely targeted at adults.
They are striking for their peculiarity on radio…but the video versions…wow! There’s some laughter there, but I have no words.
January 9th, 2015 at 05:04am
One of the unusual little changes in Canberra over the Christmas/New Year period occurred on Antill Street in Dickson where the Jehovah’s Witnesses made a change to their humble little unassuming Kingdom Hall.
They added an incredibly bright sign to the Antill St side of the building. This light stands out a lot on this dark side of this primarily residential street.
The sign is so bright that, from this angle, it appears in photos as just another light on the building. To get a shot of the sign where it is readable, the building has to become almost invisible.
The sign was quite startling on the first night, and while it still stands out a lot, I would now describe it as merely distracting, now that I’m used to it.
During daylight hours though, it is almost unnoticeable as it fits in with the building quite well.
In fact if you compare that photo to a picture from Google Street View, you probably wouldn’t even notice the difference unless you were actively looking for it.
(h/t Google Street View)
I do wonder what the residents on the other side of the street make of it?
January 8th, 2015 at 12:00pm
Islamic terrorists struck a satirical newspaper in France killing a dozen people. The newspaper in question had not been afraid to call describe Islamic terrorists as terrorists, and to comment on their actions, and was probably targeted because of this…they’ve certainly received plenty of threats in the past.
The “Religion of Peace” struck again today against the West, this time in the heart of France, which has more Muslims per capita than any other E.U. nation.
Black-clad gunmen stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper known for lampooning Islamic radicals early Wednesday, killing 12 and injuring as many as 15 before escaping, French officials said..
As many as three Kalashnikov-toting shooters were being sought after the attack at Charlie Hebdo, the newspaper known for challenging Muslim terrorists with a 2011 caricature of Prophet Mohammed on its cover and which recently tweeted a cartoon of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Two policemen and several journalists were among the dead.
“We’ve avenged the honor of the prophet!” the killers shouted, according to witnesses who spoke to Sky News.
Stunning video shows the gunmen brazenly strolling down a Paris sidestreet with their AK-47s shouting “Allahu Akbar”, opening fire on a policeman, then as he lies on the ground, finishing him off with a head shot.
(h/t Brian Hayes, Top Right News)
Update 10:49am: YouTube have removed the video previously posted here via Top Right News. Dar0s Studios posted a more graphic version of the video on Facebook which is now included below, replacing the previous YouTube video. Thanks to Casey Hendrickson for the link. End Update
Content Warning: graphic uncensored terrorist violence
Amazingly it seems that the reaction from French police was hindered by the fact that many police there choose to not be armed!
Several Paris police officers who came into contact with the armed terrorists who slaughtered 10 journalists at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine, retreated from the gunmen because they were unarmed, according to an eyewitness.
Paris police officers have the option of carrying firearms, though many choose not to.
(h/t Chuck Ross, The Daily Caller)
There are places where general duties police officers are not allowed to carry a gun, and that is mystifying enough…but for a law enforcement officer to choose to not be armed despite being the front line of law and order and consequently being a target of any armed nutter…I can’t comprehend the logic in that decision.
Meanwhile, sadly, it seems that once again certain countries which should be showing strong leadership against such brutal terrorist acts, are once again showing ineptitude.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest made multiple media appearances this morning across many hours, all of which were after French President Francois Hollande called this event an act of terrorism, and for hours Mr. Earnest refused to call it an act of terrorism. He finally, hours later, changed his mind when he appeared on Fox News, but then couldn’t provide any reasonable explanation as to why he’d changed his mind, and why he’d previously spent so long refusing to call it terrorism.
“As you rightly point out, the French president called this a terrorist attack, without a doubt. Last hour, you called them perpetrators. I’m trying to figure out why the language changed,” Fox’s Bill Hemmer told Earnest. “Did you get different information, are you characterizing in a different way, Josh? What is it?”
“What we’re seeing here is an event that just occurred a couple hours ago,” Earnest said “We’re still learning details exactly what happened. But what is clear this is an act much violence, an act of terrorism, that we condemn in the strongest possible terms and we’re going to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies in France.”
(h/t Al Weaver, The Daily caller)
The French are still learning details too, but it didn’t take them hours to figure out the basic facts of what happened.
Unfortunately this is all too common with this White House. Many-a-time they have refused to call a terrorist attack a terrorist attack, with probably the most egregious example being when they lied through their teeth about who attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi, and why they did it, blaming the incident on an anti-Islamic video that had absolutely nothing to do with it, when the attack was actually the work of Al Qaeda.
I’m not blaming Barack Obama or his administration for today’s terrorist attack in France, but I will say that it is just another example of how his weak foreign policy and weak responses to terrorist attacks of this type help to foster an environment where terrorists feel freer to roam and do their dastardly deeds, as they know it is unlikely they will be brought to account for their actions, especially when so many countries wait for their lead from the US before doing anything themselves.
January 8th, 2015 at 04:46am
I saw it a lot when I was in the US last year, especially in the colder northern states where Winter had no intention of letting up, and I did wonder how many cars are stolen because of it. My initial thought was the risk of being shot while stealing a car probably deters most casual opportunistic joyriders, but for some that risk might seem better than the risk of freezing in the elements.
BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. – Car thefts have risen drastically since the first of January in Blue Springs.
“Within the last six days, there have been eight car thefts, five of them between the hours of 5 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. on a Monday morning,” [Jennifer Dachenhausen, Public Information Officer and Crime Analyst for the Blue Springs Police Department] says. “These cars were all left unattended to warm up, before people headed to work.”
(h/t KMBZ Radio, Kansas City)
As I did a bit of driving at night in the cold and snowy bits of the US last year, I probably saw more than my fair share of unattended cars which had been left running. The time which struck me as being most peculiar was seeing about a dozen cars in the carpark of a 24/7 Walmart, with about eight or nine of them running unattended, at about 9pm, in the small town of Fort Dodge, Iowa. It was snowing and there appeared to be more running cars in the carpark than customers in the store, which led me to believe some of the running cars belonged to staff. The carpark was also almost devoid of people and I really doubt that anybody would have noticed if somebody had just hopped in to someone else’s car and driven off.
The article has another peculiar line which caught my attention when I heard it mentioned on KMBZ earlier today.
Since the thefts, two of the cars have been located at two different hotels in the Blue Springs area.
Could it be that tourists without their own transport, not wanting to wait in sub-freezing windy and snowy weather for a taxi, opted for a convenient but illegal method of transportation? Given how cold it gets there, I can understand if they did…not that I would endorse it, but I do understand the motivation.
Submitting insurance claims on those thefts must be a very interesting and difficult experience.
January 7th, 2015 at 05:56pm
Over the last few weeks, the fences have gone up around the Currong Apartments in Braddon, and so the days are numbered for this rather dodgy bit of Canberra.
Interestingly the power is still on in there as some of the lights in the common areas were on went I went by, and could be seen from outside the fence.
Also interesting is that one of the abandoned cars in the carpark was not removed before the fences went up.
And for purposes of comparison, here is a photo taken from Currong St yesterday.
And a photo from the archives of Samuel’s Blog, taken in January 2007.
It will be very interesting to see how the demolition takes place as the building is very close to a lot of other residences and many types of quick demolitions would be inappropriate due to the disruption or mess they would cause.
January 7th, 2015 at 10:40am
Update 5:57am: Boehner has been re-elected as Speaker, which is a shame as I doubt even the scare of discontent among conservatives will be enough to make him work towards more conservative ends. End update
The Republicans won a majority in both the House and Senate at last year’s mid-term election, not because they necessarily stood for certain actions or programs or initiatives (with the exception of some local candidates, as a whole they stood for no new actions), but rather because the voters want someone to stop or at least slow Obama down.
Unfortunately, shortly after winning this majority of both houses of Congress, the remaining Republicans in the lame-duck session of the Congress late last year sided with the Democrats to pass a full-year funding measure which does nothing to slow Obama, and in fact helps him as it makes it easier for him to bypass congress with executive actions on things such as amnesty for illegal immigrants. This was a clear betrayal of the people who voted for Republicans last year who expected Republicans to pass a short-term spending bill which would put the next spending bill under the control of this congress which has a Republican majority in both houses and barely needs to worry about appeasing Democrats, and thus would allow for defunding of programs which Republicans (and their voters) oppose.
Sadly, this was par for the course for much of the Republican leadership, especially Speaker Of The House John Boehner.
The good news is that the new House must elect a speaker, and John Boehner faces serious challenges, such as conservative Louie Gohmert.
Texas Republican Louie Gohmert announced Sunday morning on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” that he would throw his hat into the ring, saying he’s officially a candidate for the speaker gig.
Gohmert’s announcement comes as Boehner’s approval from conservative voters sags.
Gohmert’s office also sent a statement to TheBlaze[..]
After the November elections gave Republicans control of the Senate, voters made clear they wanted change. There have been numerous examples of problematic Republican leadership, but we were hopeful our leaders got the voters’ message. However, after our Speaker forced through the CRomnibus by passing it with Democratic votes and without time to read it, it seemed clear that we needed new leadership. There had been much discussion. But, until yesterday, no one had stepped up.
I applaud my friend Rep. Ted Yoho for putting his name forward as an alternative to the status quo. Ted is a good man for whom I could vote, but I have heard from many supporters and also friends in Congress who have urged me to put forward my name for Speaker as well to increase our chances of change. That is why I am also offering my name as a candidate for Speaker.
At this point, the Speaker’s election is not about a particular candidate. It is about whether we keep the status quo or make the change the country demands. I am putting forward my name for consideration as Speaker and hope that with a new Speaker, be that me or someone else, we can fight for the ideals and principles that the voters wanted when they elected us in November.
In TheBlaze’s Saturday poll on who should be the House Speaker, Gohmert snagged 16 percent of the vote, putting him firmly at No. 2 on the seven-person list.
TheBlaze readers’ favorite pick among the options provided: South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy, whose nearly 10,000 votes gave him 70 percent of the poll participants.
(h/t Zach Noble, The Blaze)
Today we have confirmation that the moves to dump Speaker Boehner and respect the wishes of the electorate are growing, seemingly to the amazement of Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill:
A bloc of at least 15 conservative lawmakers will vote Tuesday to deny John Boehner a third term as Speaker[..]
The incumbent Speaker, who is facing long-shot challenges from two Tea Party favorites — Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) — needs support from a simple majority of the lawmakers present to secure another two years as the House leader.
That magic number won’t be known until the vote, given a number of absences. Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) will miss the vote as he undergoes medical treatment. A number of New York Democrats will be attending a funeral of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. And the inclement weather could delay some lawmakers trying to make their way to Washington.
(h/t Scott Wong, The Hill)
It will be an interesting vote in Washington, and without wanting to overstate the case, I think dumping John Boehner as speaker is not only the right thing to do, but could be crucial if there is to be a good chance of a conservative Republican elected to the White House in 2016, as failing to dump Speaker Boehner will make it very difficult to show the public clear differences between Republicans and Democrats at election time.
January 7th, 2015 at 04:58am