The following is from an email to 2GB’s Luke Grant, filling in for Michael McLaren
The UN really does stand for “useless nonsense”. How do they come to the conclusion that Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained when he is only confined to the Ecudorian embassy by his own choice. The British police aren’t detaining him in there…he is detaining himself, so the UN should be ruling against him.
I hope he does get arrested. Both he and his alleged victim in Sweden deserve a fair trial. I also would not be upset if he ends up facing the US authorities because his actions with Wikileaks were well beyond being a whistleblower.
Have a good weekend (although I guess you’re working just as I am).
February 5th, 2016 at 04:47am
Some interesting results from the Iowa caucuses today with Ted Cruz winning the Republican vote and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders virtually tied on the Democrat side.
For the Republicans, with 99% of the vote counted, Ted Cruz has won 27.7% ahead of Donald Trump on 24.3%, closely followed by Marco Rubio on 23.1% and then Ben Carson a fair way back with 9.3%. With less than 5% each we have Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee (2008 Iowa winner), Chris Christie, Rick Santorum (2012 Iowa winner), and below 1% “other” followed by Jim Gilmore who received a whopping 12 votes across the state to score less than 0.1%.
On the Democrat side it’s virtually a tie between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders with Hillary leading by just 0.3%, 49.9% to 49.6%. Unlike the Republican vote, actual numbers of votes are not reported on the Democrat side so the size of that gap is unknown. Martin O’Malley (aka Maryland’s ex-Governor Rain Tax) received 0.5%, and both “uncommitted” and “other” received 0.0% which could be a handful of votes or could be nothing.
Ted Cruz winning is a good result in my books. He is a fantastic conservative candidate but is disliked by the establishment wing of the Republican Party and needed a victory in Iowa to build momentum. He is unlikely to win in New Hampshire where Donald Trump holds a comfortable lead in the polls, so this victory in Iowa puts him in good stead for the later states.
Donald Trump came in second, and while the media will portray this as a devastating blow for his campaign, it really isn’t. The Donald did very well in a lot of counties (especially rural ones by the looks of it) and, as Iowa is not a winner-takes-all state but rather selects delegates for the convention on a proportional basis based on the number of votes a candidate receives, Donald Trump has actually received quite a good start, although on a national basis, Iowa actually has very few delegates to send to the national Republican convention dues to its relatively low population.
Marco Rubio receiving as many votes as he did concerns me a bit because he has really fallen in line with the business-as-usual establishment wing of the Republican Party of late, but given his historic ties with the conservative and tea party wings of the party, the fact that he was the only “establishment” candidate to have a decent showing, and he is the least objectionable of the “establishment” candidates, it’s not a terribly-worrying result.
Dr. Ben Carson’s fourth place is good to see. I was worried he would be further back in the field, but it’s a decent spot and keep him in the public eye, even if it probably won’t get him any of Iowa’s delegates at the convention.
As for the rest…well, what can you say? They’ll be banking on Iowa’s 50/50 success rate in picking the eventual nominee, and complete failure in doing so in the last two presidential cycles, going in their favour. They will definitely be hoping to do better in New Hampshire, and then consider their position after Nevada and South Carolina.
It is worth noting that Mike Huckabee has pulled out of the race (officially he has “suspended his campaign” which is essentially the same thing). Huckabee was relying on the evangelical vote and has done a lot of work to drum up evangelical support. Alas, that work has ended up benefiting Ted Cruz and Ben Carson more than Mike Huckabee. I expect Huckabee will endorse either Ted Cruz or Ben Carson at some stage between the New Hampshire primary and Super Tuesday when a whole heap of states vote at the same time. For both candidates, given his political executive experience, he could be a valuable vice presidential candidate for either Cruz or Carson, neither of which have been a state governor.
Overall I’m pleased with the result on the Republican side as many of the good candidates have gone well. Some good candidates have not gone so well (ie. Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina in particular) but they will have chances in the next three states to raise their profile a bit before Super Tuesday. I would also be willing to accept any of the top four from Iowa (albeit with reservations when it comes to Marco Rubio) if they eventually go on to get the Republican nomination.
On the Democrat side, I’m happy with the result, mainly because the Democratic National Committee will not be happy with it, and Hillary Clinton won’t be overly impressed either. I’m not a fan of Bernie Sanders (although I will give him credit for not hiding his socialist views, unlike Hillary who tries to dress up her odd combination of crony-capitalist and socialist views as “fighting for the little people” and “against Wall Street”) but his strong presence in the campaign makes it harder for the Democrats to win a general election as his views are anathema to most of the country, even if he is managing to drum up support among an often unheard section of the Democrat base.
Hillary Clinton looks set to escape Iowa with one more delegate than Bernie Sanders, but she also looks set to lose New Hampshire by a decent margin if the polls are to be believed. The narrow Iowa result and a victory for Bernie in New Hampshire is a serious concern for the Democratic National Committee as Bernie Sanders scares off their major corporate donors, and these two states give him much better momentum going in to Nevada and South Carolina.
The DNC have, however, been well aware that Hillary could lose to Bernie or could face serious legal issues due to the ongoing scandal surrounding the classified emails which were illegally stored on her private email server. They, through influence via Obama’s office and the Department Of Justice, have been slowing down the FBI investigation in to her emails, much to the chagrin of the FBI, and have been keeping a standby candidate in the race just in case. Unfortunately for the DNC, their standby candidate, Martin O’Malley (the former governor of Maryland, who instituted a very unpopular rain tax) has failed to generate any interest, to the point where he may as well have been in the audience at the debates for the amount he contributed. He did not even get 1% of the Iowa vote and has pulled out of the race. I fully expect former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to enter the Democratic race soon as a standby option for the DNC should Hillary falter. Bloomberg has stated he is considering running as an independent, but given he has previously been both a Democrat and a Republican (who acted like a Democrat in office) he could easily become a Democrat again. It’s a bit late for him to get on the ballot in many states, but not too late for him to be a candidate at the convention and potentially have delegates from other candidates sent in his direction, especially if a candidate pulls out of the race, and I fully expect Hillary to pull out of the race at some stage, especially if she loses a decent number of states between now and the end of Super Tuesday and the brakes are then taken off the FBI’s email investigation.
As I noted earlier, Iowa has a relatively small population and thus a relatively small number of delegates to send to the Republican and Democratic conventions. It really only gets a large amount of hype and attention because it is the first vote in the nation in the process of selecting presidential candidates. It might not be all that important in terms of overall numbers, but it is a good indicator (especially for those who receive very few votes) of how a campaign is tracking, and a good momentum builder for future states. The winners in Iowa will not necessarily be the eventual nominee, and often don’t even make it all the way to the convention, but it is a good start for the winners and a good experience and testing ground for many of the rest. There is still a very long way to go.
The good news from this is that a number of very good conservative candidates are off to a good start, and the even better news is that there are some clear margins on the Republican side so the field will narrow quite a bit fairly soon, and we will then be left with one of the most conservative Republican fields in living memory. I’m looking forward to the ballots in the next few states, and after today I am even more hopeful of a solid conservative taking out the Republican nomination (as opposed to the disasters of the “moderate” nominees from the last two cycles) and going on to win the presidency. The great thing about this is that a good and popular conservative candidate would improve Republican turnout at the polls and have a good chance at electing a majority of Republicans to the House and Senate, which would in turn give them an opportunity to quickly go about undoing the damage done over the course of the Obama administration, and even some done in the late stages of the Bush administration.
It seems to be a great time to be a conservative, and in my books that makes it a great time to be alive.
February 2nd, 2016 at 07:50pm
Good morning and happy Australia Day. May your day be wonderful and patriotic.
This is a wonderful country, and long may it continue to be. I consider it to be important on this day, more so than others, to be mindful of the things which have made our country great such as the democracy adapted from the British; the compatible but necessarily different characteristics found between the populations of our vast and sparsely-populated states; and a (sadly diminishing) willingness to have a go in spite of circumstances, which goes hand-in-hand with a healthy and respectful scepticism of authority, and a non-reliance on government bodies to do things for us.
It is also a good day to ignore the detractors who aim to turn Australia in to something less great. Examples include those who, at this time each year, trot out plans to change the flag, the constitution, the national anthem, and other similar things. It also includes people who misuse Australia Day honours to call for more government intervention in this, that, or the other. It especially includes the subversion practiced each year by the government’s socialist FM “music” station which counts down the worst noises of the year and uses it as a way to entice youngsters to stay listening through the year so they can receive doses of socialist claptrap soothsaying between those awful noises which masquerade as music.
A happy Australia Day to you. May your patriotism serve you well and help to strengthen the nation.
January 26th, 2016 at 07:11am
The bombings in France in the last day-or-so were an atrocity. The senseless and indiscriminate killing is undoubtedly the work of people who have no respect for human life or for the general peacefulness and freedom of the country which they attacked.
This should come as no surprise though as it is just the latest in a long string of attacks perpetrated by hardline Islamists. The fact that in this case at least some of the attackers were granted asylum in France should speak volumes about how little respect they have for non-hardline Islamic culture, and the inherent security risks in allowing unfettered migration. To that end, and while I don’t blame her directly for this attack and still agree with many of her policies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel should take this attack on France as a wake up call that her reckless actions of incentivising swarms of undocumented aliens to make their way across Europe on their way to Germany, with many undoubtedly vanishing in to countries along the way, is a surefire way to aide and abet Islamic State in getting a foothold right throughout Europe.
We often, especially in the days after one of these increasingly-regular attacks, hear the nonsense that it’s not really anything to do with Islam because Islam is a religion of peace. Donkey twoddle! The alleged prophet Mohammed was an angry and violent warmonger. It is my view that the peaceful Muslims are practicing a faith which is closer to Christianity than it is to Islam. The real Islamic faith is, as Tony Abbott quite elegantly describes, a death cult. Peaceful Muslims are right to condemn these terrorist acts, but not because it is being done in their name (which it is not) but rather because they hold a very different faith which is regularly confused with the Islamic death cult. You could call them two radically different denominations of Islam. It is now beyond high time that we stop being afraid to refer to this as an Islamic problem for fear of offending peaceful Muslims, for we will never be able to confront this problem if we’re afraid of naming it and accurately describing it.
And therein lies a problem. Our political leaders are, for the most part, afraid of tackling this problem of the Islamic death cult head on. Sure, they have all made the familiar sympathetic noises since the latest attack, but what have they actually done to fix the problem. Islamic State was able to build a foothold and strength in large part because Barack Obama was not interested in securing and maintaining the hard-fought near-victories in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has since aided the allies of Islamic State by helping to destabilise pretty much every government with a stabilising influence in the Middle East. America and allies now pretend to do something about ISIS by dropping an entirely inadequate amount of bombs on ISIS targets, and as if to just show how out of touch or uninterested he is with the situation, in the hours before the attack in France, Obama declared that Islamic State was contained and not growing in strength. In reality, it is growing and the only country seemingly willing to do anything about it is Russia, and it sure is unnerving to have Russia as the hope for the free world.
A further show of Obama’s disinterest in helping to solve the problem is a symbolic one. When the Supreme Court legalised gay marriage, Obama was ready with rainbow coloured lighting of the White House, and yet after this attack while the rest of the world was bathing buildings in a red, white and blue glow to symbolise France’s national colours, the White House and other federally-controlled American monuments remained their natural colours. The fact that France and America share national colours should have made it easier to light some buildings, so the lack of this symbolic gesture is very telling. If Obama really cared about gay marriage as much as his own political agenda, he would want to put a stop to the Islamic death cult which enjoys murdering homosexuals. None of his actions to date suggest he cares, although an argument could be made that he sympathises with the terrorists based on how much his actions have benefited them.
While the chain of events has begun and it is now too late to prevent ISIS from launching further attacks, it is imperative that we act now to wipe out Islamic State. While there will certainly be more attacks even if we strike with our full force immediately, the sooner we start properly attacking Islamic State, the better the chances are that we can win and wipe them out in a shorter timeframe, and the lower the chances of them achieving their aim of a tyrannical global Islamic caliphate.
That pretty much summarises my thoughts, apart to say that I am very sorry for the hundreds who were killed or injured, and I am praying for the families of the fallen. Equally I pray for the victims and families of a similar attack which happened in Lebanon where at least 41 people have been killed.
Over the last day I have seen some very insightful and useful things written and said by various people. I would like to share some of the more important points from these with you, and encourage you to follow the links to read the rest of these important thoughts.
Glenn Beck joined the dots elegantly and I think he is right that we are seeing the opening salvos of World War Three. While I still think there is a chance to avoid things escalating that far, Beck does make some very good points. From his Facebook page:
This was not a terror attack tonight this was the beginning of World War 3.
The Arch Duke Ferdinand moment was indeed the cart vendor in Tunisia. He lit the fuse that sparked the up risings in the Middle East
–which led to a collapse of
–which led to a refugee crisis in Italy, Spain and France.
–which led to the US arming the wrong people in Syria by running guns through Benghazi
–which led to the collapse of Syria and the creation of Isis.
–Which in turn led to the refugee crisis in Europe.
–which led to the first shots tonight in World War Three.
It may not be declared or seen as such for quite some time but make no mistake this is the beginning.
The refugee crisis will when history is written be seen as a Trojan horse invasion by Islamists in Europe. It was aided by the UN, the EU and socialists world wide.
This is a final fulfillment of the chalkboard: “a caliphate will be established and the chaos will spread across the Middle East. Then the chaos will spread to Europe where the socialist, anarchists and Islamists will work together to destabilize Europe and the western world.”
Remember, 3 years ago all of the so called experts said that this was nuts. It has all just happened.
What happened in Paris may be the beginning of a much larger movement. Which could spread globally. It is only a matter of time.
Pray for our nation.
Pray that the eyes of those who are blind will see, that our hearts will not fail us and that the mouths of our churches are opened.
Glenn promises to go in to much more detail during the week on TV and radio. Glenn’s shows can be found online at theblaze.com/tv and I think it will be a particularly enlightening and informative week, even if Glenn leans a bit towards the overly catastrophic.
Mark Steyn, in the hours after the attack, summed up the current problem wonderfully.
I’m so bloody sick of these savages shooting and bombing and killing and blowing up everything I like – whether it’s the small Quebec town where my little girl’s favorite fondue restaurant is or my favorite hotel in Amman or the brave freespeecher who hosted me in Copenhagen …or a music hall where I liked to go to hear a little jazz and pop and get away from the cares of the world for a couple of hours. But look at the photographs from Paris: there’s nowhere to get away from it; the barbarians who yell “Allahu Akbar!” are there waiting for you …when you go to a soccer match, you go to a concert, you go for a drink on a Friday night. They’re there on the train… at the magazine office… in the Kosher supermarket… at the museum in Brussels… outside the barracks in Woolwich…
When the Allahu Akbar boys opened fire, Paris was talking about the climate-change conference due to start later this month, when the world’s leaders will fly in to “solve” a “problem” that doesn’t exist rather than to address the one that does. But don’t worry: we already have a hashtag (#PrayForParis) and doubtless there’ll be another candlelight vigil of weepy tilty-headed wankers. Because as long as we all advertise how sad and sorrowful we are, who needs to do anything?
With his usual killer comedy timing, the “leader of the free world” told George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning, America” this very morning that he’d “contained” ISIS and that they’re not “gaining strength”. A few hours later, a cell whose members claim to have been recruited by ISIS slaughtered over 150 people in the heart of Paris and succeeded in getting two suicide bombers and a third bomb to within a few yards of the French president.
Visiting the Bataclan, M Hollande declared that “nous allons mener le combat, il sera impitoyable”: We are going to wage a war that will be pitiless.
Does he mean it? Or is he just killing time until Obama and Cameron and Merkel and Justin Trudeau and Malcolm Turnbull fly in and they can all get back to talking about sea levels in the Maldives in the 22nd century? By which time France and Germany and Belgium and Austria and the Netherlands will have been long washed away.
Among his other coy evasions, President Obama described tonight’s events as “an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share”.
But that’s not true, is it? He’s right that it’s an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world – an attack on one portion of “humanity” by those who claim to speak for another portion of “humanity”. And these are not “universal values” but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity. They were kinda sorta “universal” when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the colonial subjects of ramshackle backwaters such as Aden, Sudan and the North-West Frontier Province were at least obliged to pay lip service to them. But the European empires retreated from the world, and those “universal values” are utterly alien to large parts of the map today.
And then Europe decided to invite millions of Muslims to settle in their countries. Most of those people don’t want to participate actively in bringing about the death of diners and concertgoers and soccer fans, but at a certain level most of them either wish or are indifferent to the death of the societies in which they live – modern, pluralist, western societies and those “universal values” of which Barack Obama bleats. So, if you are either an active ISIS recruit or just a guy who’s been fired up by social media, you have a very large comfort zone in which to swim, and which the authorities find almost impossible to penetrate.
And all Chancellor Merkel and the EU want to do is make that large comfort zone even larger by letting millions more “Syrian” “refugees” walk into the Continent and settle wherever they want.
He followed up hours later with a few more prescient points.
Just in case our enemies needed another reason to despise us, today the inactivist group Somnolent Tilty-Headed Wankers for Peace launched an exciting new graphic: the same old clapped-out hippie peace symbol but incorporating the Eiffel Tower (right)! Isn’t that a cool, stylish way of showing how saddy-saddy-sadcakes you are about all those corpses in the streets of Paris? It’s already gone viral! And that’s all that matters, isn’t it?
Our enemies use social media to distribute snuff videos as a means of recruitment. We use it to confirm to them how passive and enervated we are: What was it the last time blood ran in the streets of Paris? Oh, yeah, a pencil – for all those dead cartoonists. But, given that blood in the streets of Paris looks like becoming a regular event, it helps to have something of general application. What about, ooh, a tricolor with a blue tear at the end? No, better yet: a peace symbol with a croissant in the middle. No, wait…
Oh, sorry. All they were saying is give peace a chance. And, having said it, they’ve gone back to sleep until the next atrocity requires another stupid hashtag or useless avatar.
According to the Government of Greece, one of the Paris terrorists entered Europe as a “Syrian refugee” through the Greek island of Leros on October 3rd. Under the Schengen Agreement, once you’ve been admitted to one EU country you can proceed, without further inspection by officials, to all of them – save for Britain and Ireland. If either the Schengen Agreement or Angela Merkel’s chancellorship survive this revelation, we’ll know just how serious M Hollande’s “war without mercy” actually is.
I would strongly encourage you to follow the links and read the rest of Mark’s brilliant pieces.
And one must also make mention of Tony Abbott who, until the treacherous replacement of him as Prime Minister, was a shining beacon of hope among world leaders, helping to strengthen the resolve of other world leaders who may have been a bit reluctant to face these challenges head on. Tony Abbott led by example on the world stage, instituting ordered migration rather than haphazard arrival chaos, as well as standing up for Australians and other innocents when other leaders lacked the courage to do so after the ruthless destruction of flight MH17, as well as calling Islamic State what it is: a death cult.
Thankfully Tony Abbott has returned to the world stage recently, explaining to Europe the perils of disorderly migration (a timely and important lesson which Europe desperately needs), and in the last day has been speaking out about the challenges we face in dealing with Islamic State.
Today on The Bolt Report:
Well this is not something that I think I should be giving public advice to prime ministers and presidents on, the point I make, is that this ISIL Caliphate, it can’t be contained, it has to be defeated. And it’s not going to go away, just by wishing it to go away. It’s only going to be defeated if people take very strong steps against it… What we’re seeing is more and more evidence of the malice and the reach of this terrorist empire or would be terrorist empire and that’s why I say my hope is that these latest atrocities will strengthen our resolve, our determination to protect our way of life and to stand up for our values.
And as Breitbart’s Simon Kent notes from today’s Sunday Telegraph and other recent speeches:
Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists are hiding in plain sight among the Syrian asylum seekers now invading Europe and tough border controls are needed to seal porous frontiers against people who regard western civilisation as ‘Satanic’.
That is the grim warning of former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, speaking in the aftermath of Friday night’s horrific attacks in Paris that killed 127 people.
Mr. Abbott, who was deposed in a party coup last September, told the Sydney Telegraph [sic] newspaper there was a genuine risk terrorists were hiding among the flood of migrants fleeing ISIS in Europe and taking advantage of Europe’s open borders.
“This is right. [..] But it is absolutely crystal clear that whether they are recent arrivals, whether they are second generation Parisians, the problem of Islamist extremism is severe.
“And it’s not going away anytime soon, particularly with this Caliphate remaining in place in Syria and Iraq which is encouraging its sympathisers right around the world to carry out attacks including on Australia.”
Mr. Abbott’s warning came as a Reuters report confirmed a Syrian passport was found on the body of one of the suicide bombers at the Stade de France in Paris after Friday’ night’s massacre.
In a speech in London last month, Mr Abbott warned expanded action, including ground troops as well as much more intensive bombing from the air may be required to defeat Islamic terrorism.
He lashed out at the “misguided” immigration policies of European leaders, including that of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, insisting: “unlike you, we now control our borders”.
Mr. Abbott also warned then that “misguided altruism’’ was stopping nations from denying entry at the border to people with “no right to come” and continued that theme in his latest interview.
“But the atrocities in France are yet another sign of the challenges that countries such as ours face. I fear that the struggle against Islamist extremism is going to be the great challenge of our generation and the great challenge of our time.”
Tony Abbott’s ousting from the role of Prime Minister probably deserves a blog post all of its own, but it is clear at times like this that we are a poorer nation and even a poorer world for the lack of Tony as PM.
Finally, I was hoping to bring you something of substance from Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes who has been posting some insightful thought bubbles on Facebook, but I suspect he won’t collate them in to a substantial piece until he puts together his morning radio commentary on Monday. That said, his Facebook page is well worth a look and worth checking regularly, especially when it comes to matters surrounding Islamic terrorism.
We live in a precarious time, and I fear for what the future holds if we don’t deal with the increasing problems of Islamic terrorism swiftly and decisively. Unfortunately with our current elected leaders around the world, it is going to take voters electing people who take this threat seriously instead of what voters tend to do at the moment in shunning politicians who want to treat Islamic terrorism seriously. The longer that takes, the harder it will be for us to win and the more innocent lives that will be lost in the interim.
Islamic terrorism must be treated as a death cult and dealt with as such; the future of our civilisation depends on it. The question is whether our civilisation realises it. I pray that it soon will.
November 15th, 2015 at 07:35pm
Sometimes I wonder and worry about how little curiosity people seem to have, and how accepting they are of statements from authorities which say absolutely nothing. What is happening to the west of Los Angeles International Airport right now is a perfect example.
The airspace to the west of LAX, over the ocean, is being shut down at night for some secret military operation. Normally, to limit night over residential areas, flights at night use this airspace, but those night flights are now being diverted over populated areas, so it is understandable that residents are a bit upset about the extra noise but it seems peculiar that the airport and not the military are being made the scapegoat for this anger by being thrust in front of the media to explain the situation while the military keep right out of the public eye.
We clearly understand that neighbors and communities east of the airport will experience noise and we apologize for that,” said Nancy Castles, LAX public relations director.
The military is not saying what exactly is causing the change, and LAX claims it’s also in the dark. Castles said all they know is planes can’t be flying at low altitudes to our west.
(h/t Jory Rand, ABC7 Los Angeles)
Having watched the video of the ABC7 report, I think the airport people know more than they are saying and are probably restricted from saying any more, but that’s a little beside the point. What really intrigues me is how little the residents interviewed by ABC7 seem to care that there is something weird happening a short distance from their homes.
One resident interviewed by ABC7 (seen in the video but not quoted in their article) seemed to be annoyed by the extra noise but not concerned at all about the cause, while another came up with this pearler of a statement which I think is sadly indicative of the attitudes of many when it comes to things done by authorities behind a cloak of secrecy or at least minimal disclosure.
“And plus if it’s a military thing it’s a good thing, that means they’re making it safer for us so I wouldn’t let it bother me,” said Steve Devosion of Inglewood. “I’d be more interested in them not doing something about what’s going on than them doing something about what’s going on.”
Putting aside the fact that the statement is at least partially indecipherable gibberish, it seems to me that Mr. Devosion is saying that if the military or the government is doing something, it must be for the best. What exactly he imagines is going on is beyond me, but his gibberish sentence seems to indicate that he has something other than a practice in mind.
And that is exactly why I don’t understand why people are not more curious about it. If it’s not a practice drill, then what exactly is happening just off the coast that can only be dealt with at night and needs to be kept from prying eyes, and what risk does it potentially pose? Or for that matter what future risk could it be preparing for? And if it is just a practice, why does it need to be in that spot when there are better, more covert, watered areas which could be used and not cause inconvenience to civilians?
Of course I acknowledge that there are some things which should be kept secret, and this could be one of them, but even things which should be kept secret should also be met with some scepticism and inquisitiveness by the public, and yet this seems to be blindly accepted by most of the people who are the most affected by it.
It is just another example of people not applying any critical thought or analysis to a statement by something which has an authoritative status. It seems that this type of blind faith in government and pseudo-government entities (but not the political masters of these entities) is growing in our society, and I must say I am more than a bit concerned that people who refuse to think critically are becoming the majority and are reaching a point where they will vote us all in to some sort of government enslavement (a thing which comes in many forms including the “nanny state”, growing socialist policies and programs, and burdensome extra taxation to fund it all) without ever giving any thought to the consequences because they believed the promise that it was all or their safety or protection.
While I’m on the subject of the unusual things people will accept and the odd things happening near Los Angeles International Airport, have a look at this view over Los Angeles which ABC7 included in their report but didn’t bother to explain.
Image credit: ABC7 News, Friday November 6, 2015. Click the image for a larger version.
What in the heck is that light formation? Sadly, I dare say most people aren’t interested in finding out.
November 9th, 2015 at 03:14am
Earlier this morning, 2UE’s George Moore and Paul B. Kidd had a chat with someone from Garlo’s Pies about the pie maker’s growth in Australia and their expansion in to the US. They noted that most Americans who are given a meat pie instinctively want to eat it with a knife and fork, and the people from Garlo’s Pies have been trying to get them to eat the pies by hand. In reply to that, I sent the following email to George And Paul.
Good morning George and Paul,
I’m sorry, this might be very un-Australian of me, but I think they only way to eat a pie is with a knife and fork, or sometimes I’ll use a spoon to eat the filling and then eat the pastry afterwards.
I don’t like eating much by hand though. Even apples need to be sliced before I eat them!
Have a good week.
George and Paul were amused, but not impressed. I am apparently “one of those” people. I would maintain that one day my knife and fork people will convince the world of the merits of using a knife and fork with a pie, but I fear that day might be some time away.
November 8th, 2015 at 09:46am
While it is fairly well-known that Earth has not warmed over the last 17 years or thereabouts, contradicting pretty much all of the flawed computer models which predicted catastrophic warming, it is less well-known that a slight cooling trend has been evident for much of that time.
This year has marked a bit of a tipping point in that, while the mainstream media has generally not acknowledged the lack of warming, they have at least reported on some predictions of solar cycles bringing various levels and durations of cooling. Today there is another one of those predictions.
A team of European researchers have unveiled a scientific model showing that the Earth is likely to experience a “mini ice age” from 2030 to 2040 as a result of decreased solar activity.
At the National Astronomy Meeting in Wales, Northumbria University professor Valentina Zharkova said fluctuations an 11-year cycle of solar activity the sun goes through would be responsible for a freeze, the like of which has not been experienced since the 1600s.
From 1645 to 1715 global temperatures dropped due to low solar activity so much that the planet experienced a 70-year ice age known as Maunder Minimum which saw the River Thames in London completely frozen.
(h/t Jon Austin, The Express)
Ten years is a bit short in my opinion to call it a “mini ice age” as that period of time is at the lower end of being able to determine trends in global temperatures, but ten years of cooling followed by the inevitable few or more years following which would be required to see temperatures to warm to pre-cooling levels would certainly be a chilly time and is worth thinking about. It is even more worthwhile considering when you consider the accuracy rating for the models being used.
“Over the [solar] cycle, the waves fluctuate between the Sun’s northern and southern hemispheres. Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97 per cent.”
(h/t Jon Austin, The Express)
A much much much higher accuracy rating than all of those computer models which predicted warming.
Of course only time will tell if this level of cooling comes to pass, but it is good to see increasing amounts of the media paying attention to research on the effects solar variability has on our climate, as this research has a much greater strike rate than the nonsensical man-made warming theories.
November 6th, 2015 at 05:49am
A bunch of elections occurred across the US today. Being an off-year for the main federal elections, these elections were mostly of a state and local level, but were important all the same in deciding some important offices and issues, and more broadly for taking the temperature of the electorate. Off-year elections often have less turnout due to the lack of hype which would normally surround federal elections, but the turnout tends to also be more passionate, and so often serves as a good measure of what people think and what direction they want their local communities and the nation as a whole to go in. Just a year out from the presidential election, you can be sure that candidates on both sides will be paying close attention to today’s elections.
This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but a few of the results have stood out and proven to be good news.
Kentucky shows campaigning on a truly-believed conservative platform is a good thing
In Kentucky there is a new Governor. Matt Bevin, a Republican who certainly could not be considered to be an “establishment Republican” and who was not afraid to campaign strongly on conservative principles, won quite convincingly 52.5% to 43.8% over Democrat Jack Conway (a third-party candidate drew the remainder of the vote). Polls in Kentucky were very close, so this margin of victory is even more pleasing.
Republican Matt Bevin, a businessman and Tea Party favorite, beat Democrat Jack Conway on Tuesday to win the race for Kentucky governor — becoming only the second GOP governor in the state in four decades.
The off-year election, one of many state and local contests held Tuesday across the country, was seen by some as a test for outsider candidates at a time when several such candidates are seeking the GOP presidential nomination.
Throughout his campaign, Bevin cast himself as an outsider, in both government and politics. The 48-year-old investment manager has never held public office and was shunned by the state’s Republican political establishment when he challenged McConnell in the 2014 Senate primary. He never took any meaningful steps to repair those relationships after the race, often deflecting assistance from party officials and likely affecting his fundraising ability.
He relied more on the details of his personal story — his Christian faith and his four adopted children from Ethiopia — than his political policies.
Bevin’s campaign was mostly self-funded, and he preferred to speak to small gatherings of voters instead of courting influential donors.
He has promised some sweeping changes, most notably repealing the state’s expanded Medicaid program and kynect, the state-run health insurance exchange.
(h/t Fox News)
Mr. Bevin’s victory sends a strong message that voters will respond favourably to a candidate who stands for conservative principles, and having the support of the Republican hierarchy is not necessary. This is not unexpected given the failure of long-term Republicans at the federal level to adequately oppose Barack Obama’s policies despite being given a mandate for such opposition over multiple elections.
Matt Bevin strongly opposed Obamacare’s effects in Kentucky, and was also an ardent supporter of Kim Davis, the county clerk who was imprisoned for refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples. One can hope that, despite Democrats still controlling the House in Kentucky, there will now be enough momentum for the marriage licence format to be changed to remove the name of the controlling clerk, as this was the change Kim Davis wanted so that her name would not be enshrined forever more on a document which violates her personal beliefs and the beliefs of the majority of people who voted for her.
Even left-leaning San Francisco has had enough of unfettered illegal immigration
In San Francisco, another hot topic of interest to national presidential campaigns was a deciding factor. The Sheriff of San Francisco was ousted over his support of San Francisco’s status as a “sanctuary city”, which basically means that the city deliberately helps illegal immigrants to evade federal immigration officials.
Embattled San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi convincingly lost his bid for re-election Tuesday after spending months in the national spotlight as the face of his city’s controversial “sanctuary city” policy on illegal immigration.
Mirkarimi, 54, was defeated by Vicki Hennessy, a former sheriff’s official who had the endorsement of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the sheriff deputies association. With 42 percent of precincts reporting, Henessy had received 63 percent of the vote to 31 percent for Mirkarimi.
Mirkarimi and his office received heavy criticism after Mexican illegal immigrant Francisco Sanchez allegedly shot and killed 32-year-old Kate Steinle on San Francisco’s waterfront July 1. Sanchez had been released from Mirkarimi’s jail in March even though federal immigration officials had requested that he be detained for possible deportation.
Hennessy has previously said the sheriff’s order barring the San Francisco jail from cooperating with immigration officials is misguided.
(h/t Fox News)
Illegal immigration is shaping up as one of the major issues in next year’s federal elections. The fact that a city which leans as far left as San Francisco has seen fit to at least start to take a stand against illegal immigration, shows that even places which have embraced illegal immigration are starting to see the error of their ways and the dangers of such policies.
Houston voters are smart enough to see through the bizarre discriminatory agenda buried in anti-discrimination ordinance
In Houston, a bizarre proposed ordinance which would have effectively turned all public toilets in to mixed-sex toilets has been overwhelmingly defeated by voters. The ordinance, which was a non-discrimination ordinance for all sexual persuasions other than straight people (yes, I’m trying to find a way to phrase this so as to avoid that silly ever-changing and expanding acronym), clearly went a few steps too far when it attempted to allow men in to the ladies room and vice-versa. Voters reacted as one would expect sane voters to react.
The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was nicknamed HERO. It would have, among other things, allowed people with various sexual identities to use whatever bathroom of the sex they identified themselves as – regardless of their biological sex.
Opponents worried it could put women and children at risk. Pastors and their churches across the city fought the measure out of that concern and because of other language in the measure.
They say the way the law was written the city could fine and even imprison violators who did not make certain public accomodations.
Television station KHOU says those number were approximately two-thirds of the voters against the ordinance with a third for it.
(h/t CBN News)
It seems that efforts in other states to prevent Christians from living according to their own beliefs have had such negative effects that people are starting to wake up to the discriminatory agenda being pursued by many who claim to be against discrimination.
It is also clear that people are not comfortable with the relative safety of public toilets being diminished by the removal of gender segregation.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign suffers an indirect blow in potentially safe state of Virginia. (And voters are generally against more gun control)
Meanwhile in Virginia, a state which is seen as a potentially easy victory for Hillary Clinton next year (being just outside Washington D.C., large populated areas of Virginia are home to government many workers in much the same way that towns just outside Canberra are home to large numbers of typically left-leaning public servants), her hopes of winning the state have been dashed as Democrat governor Terry McAuliffe (who has an agenda which is quite similar to Hillary Clinton’s agenda) has been unable to convince voters to support his agenda by giving Democrats control of either the House or Senate.
Republicans held onto the Virginia Senate in fiercely contested elections Tuesday, leaving Gov. Terry McAuliffe without legislative leverage or political momentum as he works to deliver Virginia for his friend and ally Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016.
The outcome was a blunt rebuke to McAuliffe (D), who had barnstormed the state with 24 events over the past four days and who portrayed the elections as a make-or-break moment for his progressive agenda.
All 140 seats in the General Assembly were on the ballot. But all eyes were on a handful of Senate seats that would decide whether Republicans held their 21-19 majority in Richmond’s upper chamber. Because the GOP dominates the House, flipping the Senate was the term-limited governor’s only hope for building a legislative legacy.
Democrats could have taken control by picking up just one seat because of the tie-breaking authority of Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D). But Republicans held all of their seats.
(h/t Laura Vozzella and Jenna Portnoy, The Washington Post — emphasis added)
Virginia’s result is also good news for supporters of the 2nd amendment and gun rights. Significant efforts were made by a high-profile anti-gun group to elect Democrats who would degrade gun rights.
A stated goal of Everytown – a group founded by Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York – is to counter the political and financial influence of the National Rifle Association. Everytown has enjoyed some modest victories since 2013, and the outcome of the two Virginia Senate campaigns could signal important changes in the politics of gun control at the state level, as pro-gun control activists significantly outspend gun rights groups.
(h/t Henry Gass, Christian Science Monitor)
And how did that go? Well, as per the emphasis added to the previous article, Republicans held all of their seats.
It seems that conservatives have been willing to stand up and be counted. In most cases conservatives are the natural majority of the US population, but with optional voting it has been made very clear in recent elections that an underwhelming Republican candidate will not attract the voters and will often be defeated by the remaining voters on the Democrat side. Today’s results once again show that solid conservative candidates can and should win as long as they stand firm on conservative values. This is an important lesson to which the candidates for next year’s presidential election should pay very close attention.
Obviously not every election in the US went the way of conservatives, but the cases I have highlighted here are particularly important as they have occurred in places where conservatives have either struggled to win previously or were not expected to win this time around. It is indicative of a national mood which shows that if Republicans run a good conservative candidate for president next year instead of some uninspiring moderate establishment type (eg. Mitt Romney, John McCain, or to highlight a current possibility, Jeb Bush), then victory should be well within reach, and with it the start of the correcting of the course of the nation.
November 4th, 2015 at 10:02pm
The Melbourne Cup has been won and run for 2015. Congratulations to the owners and connections of Prince Of Penzance on their victory. See below for dividends and the complete finishing order.
Photo finish showing the first 12 finishers in the 2015 Melbourne Cup. Image credit: Racing.com
The stewards have interviewed jockeys about interference near the end of the race, but this will not change the outcome of the race. Frankie Dettori has been suspended for one month and fined $20,000 for “careless riding causing interference” during his ride on 2nd place getter Max Dynamite. Jamie Spencer has also been suspended for 14 race meetings due to interference he caused at the 250m mark while riding Big Orange.
Meanwhile Red Cadeaux suffered a suspected fetlock injury to his left foreleg during the race and has been taken away for urgent veterinary assistance. The injury is not believed to be too bad, but may spell the retirement of the 10-year-old horse.
Last updated: 5:16pm
Full replay, and data such as sectional times and margins etc are available on Racing.com’s 2015 Melbourne Cup page. Note free registration is required in order to view replays. Replays only available in Australia.
Final results and dividends
1st: 19. Prince of Penzance
Win: Supertab $65.90 , NSW $87.60 , UBET $74.10
Place: Supertab $16.60 , NSW $21.60 , UBET $19.20
2nd: 8. Max Dynamite
Place: Supertab $4.20, NSW $4.30, UBET $4.10
3rd: 2. Criterion
Place: Supertab $5.30, NSW $5.50, UBET $5.20
4th: 10. Trip to Paris
Quinella: Supertab $784.00, NSW $910.60, UBET $773.40
Exacta: Supertab $1,770.30, NSW $2,050.70, UBET $2,493.20
Trifecta: Supertab $20,010.30, NSW $26,045.00, UBET $10,678.30
First Four: Supertab $307,081.20, NSW $185,975.00, UBET $202,747.60
19 & 8 Supertab $238.40, NSW $287.70, UBET $303.60
19 & 2 Supertab $203.60, NSW $299.10, UBET $264.80
8 & 2 Supertab $38.20, NSW $37.60, UBET $33.80
Running Double Prince Of Penzance with the winner of Race 6 (5. Don’t Doubt Momma)
Supertab $646.80, NSW $588.40, UBET N/A
Complete finishing order:
1st: 19. Prince of Penzance
2nd: 8. Max Dynamite
3rd: 2. Criterion
4th: 10. Trip to Paris
5th: 5. Big Orange
6th: 24. Gust of Wind
7th: 23. Excess Knowledge
8th: 13. The Offer
9th: 16. Quest for More
10th: 4. Our Ivanhowe
11th: 11. Who Shot Thebarman
12th: 21. Sertorius
13th: 3. Fame Game
14th: 22. The United States
15th: 6. Hartnell
16th: 20. Bondi Beach
17th: 7. Hokko Brave
18th: 17. Almoonqith
19th: 18. Kingfisher
20th: 15. Preferment
21st: 14. Grand Marshal
22nd: 12. Sky Hunter
23rd (last): 1. Snow Sky
Did Not Finish: 9. Red Cadeaux
Well, as usual my Melbourne Cup tips were an unmitigated disaster.
23. Excess Knowledge ran 7th
17. Almoonqith ran 18th
12. Sky Hunter ran 22nd
November 3rd, 2015 at 03:13pm
As Melbourne Cup day attracts a large number of people who have a bet on this day and not on any other day, the following information may be of use to some people.
Which prize amount on the TV did I win?
There are so many different prize amounts listed in the media because different states have different TABs, and they work with each other in some states to pool the prizes and not in other states. As a general rule, the TAB odds are valid for the following states:
Supertab (also listed as S-TAB and similar abbreviations): Victoria, ACT, Western Australia
NSW TAB: New South Wales
UBET (formerly known as TattsBet and still listed as such in some places): Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania.
To add confusion to the mix, UBET/TattsBet offers betting services to people outside its four TAB states. If you’re using a Tatts or UBET account but don’t live in one of those states, then their odds are irrelevant to you as you are using their bookmaker service and will need to consult UBET for the relevant odds.
If you are not betting through a TAB but through an online bookmaker, then you will need to consult them for details of your odds. Most online bookmakers offer a number of odds, some are “fixed” which means they don’t change from the time you place the bet, and others will be tied to one or more of the TAB odds. Take note of the type of odds you are choosing when you place your bet, and you’ll be in a good position to know what you won if your horse or horses finish in a winning position.
Which television coverage should I watch?
As noted earlier today, both Channel Seven and Racing.com (channels 78, 68, 522 on Foxtel, and online) have full coverage of the race. If you have the choice, I recommend the Racing.com coverage on the basis that they are spending less time playing with silly camera angles on cars which make it difficult to see the horses, and are not adding unnecessary audio from the side of the track of horse hoofs pounding on the ground, and so the commentary is clearer, which makes it easier for you to follow your horses.
What are all of these types of bets?
This varies from betting agency to betting agency, but in general:
Win: Prize paid if the horse wins the race
Place: Prize paid if the horse finishes in the first three
Quinella: Pays if the two horses finish first and second
Exacta: Pays if the two horses finish first and second. You must nominate which horse will run first and which will run second.
Trifecta: Pays if the three selected horses finish first, second, and third. You must nominate which horse will finish in which position.
Other bet types have various names with various outlets, and the rules vary slightly between betting outlet, so if in doubt you should consult your betting agency for further information.
November 3rd, 2015 at 02:38pm
Another year, another Melbourne Cup, although this year there are some interesting changes to the ways you can watch the Melbourne Cup which will be of great benefit to people who can not be near a television.
As usual, after the race I will provide complete results (including the complete finishing order) and the TAB dividends. It should be noted by prospective gamblers, given the number of people who may only bet on Melbourne Cup day and not be aware of all the ins and outs of horse racing, that bookmakers (which includes most of the online betting agencies) may offer different odds to those of the TABs…so the figures you see in the media may not match the odds on offer by your chosen betting outlet, and you should take this in to consideration before placing your bet.
My tips for the first three horses to pass the finishing post, in no particular order, are:
12. Sky Hunter
23. Excess Knowledge
At the time of publishing there were no scratchings. If this changes during the day, I will update this post, but not until the afternoon.
The race starts at 3pm Melbourne time (UTC +11).
The usual places on television and radio will be carrying the race, but with an extra television station and extra online viewing options to throw in to the mix. This makes the 2015 Melbourne Cup the most accessible Cup in history.
The Seven Network (through Channel Seven in capital cities; Seven Queensland in regional Queensland; Prime7 in regional NSW, ACT, and Victoria; GWN7 in regional Western Australia; Southern Cross Television pretty much everywhere else) remains the primary broadcast partner and will be running coverage pretty much all day, however this coverage is likely to be less focussed on racing this year and more focussed on the ancillary stuff such as fashions on the field and various associated social events. Seven will still cover the race and all of today’s other races at Flemington, but is likely to produce a broadcast aimed at more at the casual viewer than the fan of horse racing. This is because Seven has an agreement to air another racing channel.
Racing.com (channel 78 in metropolitan areas and most of regional Queensland, channel 68 in other regional areas, channel 522 of Foxtel, and also online…see below) is Victorian Racing’s own channel, broadcast through an agreement with the Seven Network and regional affiliates. The station offers a more thorough coverage of Victorian horse racing than that of Seven and is probably of more value and interest to people who are actually interested in horse racing, although it will also be a busy day for this channel as it will also be covering racing in Echuca, Wangaratta, Bairnsdale, Mildura, and Mansfield, however this won’t compromise coverage of the Melbourne Cup in any way as all of these other race meetings will take a prolonged break at 2:30pm. It is also worth noting that in most locations the Racing.com broadcast is at least a couple seconds ahead of the Seven broadcast, and in areas served by Prime7 and GWN7, Racing.com can be as much as 20 seconds ahead.
The big change this year is that live vision of the Melbourne Cup will be available online. Racing.com is undoubtedly the best place to go for this, however to access their stream you will need to register for a Racing+ account. This is free, but not something which you would want to do at the very last moment. Racing.com’s stream will be available worldwide. It is the only live stream of the Melbourne Cup which will be available outside Australia.
Channel Seven will also stream the Melbourne Cup live via 7live.com.au (where a Racing.com stream is available in addition to Seven’s coverage) and also via the Plus7 app. However these streams will only be available within Australia.
Various online bookmakers offer a relay of the Racing.com stream through their own apps and websites to account holders. These streams will only be available within Australia. These betting agencies include: tab.com.au, Sportsbet, Crownbet, Ladbrokes, Betstar.com.au, bookmaker.com.au.
Very little has changed in regards to radio coverage this year. Many radio stations across Australia will take coverage of the race and some overseas will as well. I don’t have details for non-Australian radio stations, but the chances are that if you are outside Australia and have a station which regularly covers horse racing, it will probably cover this race too.
Inside Australia, your local racing station will definitely have full coverage of the race. The main racing stations are:
Melbourne: RSN 927AM
Sydney: Sky Sports Radio 1017AM
Canberra: Sky Sports Radio 1008AM. (Note: ACTTAB used to run 88.7 FM, however Tab Corp have bought and dropped the ACTTAB brand, and I can no longer receive a signal on 88.7FM, although it was never good in my part of town so might still be operational).
Brisbane: Radio TAB 1008AM
Adelaide: Radio TAB 1539AM
Darwin: Radio TAB 1242AM
Hobart: Radio TAB 1080AM
Perth: TAB Radio 1206AM
For non-capital cities, the frequency of your local racing station can be found at the following sites:
New South Wales (and some towns on the Victorian side of the border): Sky Sports Radio frequency finder
Victoria: Wikipedia’s list of RSN’s regional frequencies (which have unfortunately disappeared from RSN’s website
Queensland, South Australia, and the Northern Territory: Tattsbet’s Radio TAB frequency list
Western Australia: WA Tab Radio frequency list
Of course you can also listen to the race online. The best station for this is undoubtedly RSN 927 in Melbourne as it is the originating station for the coverage which will be heard on other stations across Australia. They replaced their old Windows Media stream with an MP3 stream this year, which means it should work in pretty much every media player and every mobile device. Click the following link or copy and paste it in to your favourite media player: http://rsnshout.dyn.rsn.net.au:8000/rsn
This stream can also be accessed from RSN’s website rsn.net.au and from Racing.com.
This stream will get very busy, so if you can’t connect to it or have other problems with it, the other racing stations are your next best bet.
Sky Sports Radio: http://www.skyracing.com.au/index.php?component=content&Itemid=215&id=96 (and the old lower-quality stream is still available http://www.skyracing.com.au/index.php?component=content&Itemid=121&id=97). Both require Flash player.
Tattsbet Radio TAB: https://media.tatts.com/Tattsbet/radiotab_http.asx (Windows Media stream)
WA TAB: https://www.tabtouch.com.au/RRLive (to play in a browser with Flash Player) or http://racingradio.rwwa.com.au/live to directly play the MP3 stream. (The stream was silent when I checked it this morning, although given the local time in Perth at the time, it could have just been an overnight technical fault).
2GB in Sydney also usually take the race and have a decent capacity for listeners on their stream, so if none of the above work for you, then http://www.2gb.com/listen-live will probably get you the race.
The above stations are all also available via phone apps such as Tunein Radio.
Replays of the race:
Racing.com will have the replay of the race, however it will only be available within Australia, and requires registration (the same registration as their live stream). Seven will undoubtedly replay the race many times during the day and Racing.com’s TV station and webstream will replay the race many times during the overnight replays over the next few days. The closing stages will be replayed by most television news bulletins in the 24 hours following the race.
Best of luck for the race today. I hope you have a good day and remember to have fun but only gamble what you can afford to lose. As usual I will be back this afternoon around race time with all of the results.
November 3rd, 2015 at 07:30am
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