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Open mike 25/05/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 25th, 2021 - 71 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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Step up to the mike …

71 comments on “Open mike 25/05/2021 ”

  1. Muttonbird 1

    The results of decades of amateur landlordism and poor governance in New Zealand:

    Half of children studied sleeping in bedrooms that are too cold, study says.

    The pioneering study was a joint project between the building researchers BRANZ and the University of Auckland longitudinal study, Growing Up in New Zealand.

    It got eight-year-olds to spend two days collecting temperature and humidity information at home and school.

    The results made for sober reading, with about 1000 children going to sleep in bedrooms that were too cold – at or below 19C – with the temperature in some rooms dropping to under 4C by the morning.

    BRANZ scientist Dr Chris Litten, from a research organisation that aims to improve New Zealand's building system, said New Zealand needed to do better with its housing stock standards.

    "We need to build better houses, we need to insulate them and on top of that we need to be able to heat them properly and be able to afford to heat them."

    Litten said good work was being done by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to look at improving energy efficiency in homes.

    But he said housing standards were lagging behind the rest of the world, and it was time to catch up.


    • RedBaronCV 1.1

      I have more than a few worries about this housing heating study.

      Firstly how ethical is it to use children? Should children be encouraged to be researching a subject which puts their parents in the difficult situation of either refusing so that the kids are left out or shamed/sidelined at school for being unable to contribute or do they agree to this spying by default on the household? And how reliable is the data. If this was my household I might agree but the thermometer would be regularly "fixed" to give an incorrect result.

      And 21 degrees? Who decided that? Most of the houses have been around since at least the 1960's and have produced some very large cohorts who seem to be living a long long time. Personally I'm comfortable without heating down to the mid teens. The industry shilling for commercial companies here?

    • Grumpy 1.2

      There is a big problem with housing. We live in timber framed tents. People simply cannot afford to heat houses to the temperatures the Government has set.

      The solution is much more complex than is currently recognised and involves house design, energy pricing and appliance selection.

      It would be a good start to look at developments in Europe who are way ahead if anything we are doing here.

      • Pat 1.2.1

        It probably would be a good idea….but its one that conflicts with 'mum and dad' investors interests and its also one that will take decades to implement.

        We had an excellent opportunity to test some of these ideas with the Christchurch rebuild….guess what we did.

      • Muttonbird 1.2.2

        People simply cannot afford to heat houses to the temperatures the Government has set.

        No doubt that is true but what has been set is the ability for tenants to heat the houses they pay for to be heated to that level.

        That the houses aren't up to it is a dreadful indictment on New Zealand's passage so far. The number 8 wire, do it on the cheap, she'll be right mentality.

        Well, she will not be right. And it's long past time this changed, painful as it might be.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.3

      looking back at previous NZ studies on bedroom temperature seem to suggest that 15C was the 'minimum'

      Dont know where the 19C number came from. Certainly you would want living areas in evening when not so active to be around 19-21C.

      To have a lounge area on a sunny day to be 18C is fine, as warm clothing inside is still required.

  2. Muttonbird 2

    Some nourishment for the conspiracy theorists:

    Wuhan virologists fell sick, possibly from COVID-19 (!), in November 2019

    Three researchers from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) sought hospital care in November 2019, a month before China reported the first cases of COVID-19, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a US intelligence report.

    A State Department fact sheet released near the end of the Trump administration said "the US government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses." It did not say how many researchers.


    • joe90 2.1

      Some nourishment for the conspiracy theorists:

      Believers are gonna believe but hey, a couple of threads on the WSJ story.

      • Muttonbird 2.1.1

        I guess you could say those who have an interest in climate change denial also have an interest in the lab-leak theory: Western big business.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          I guess you could say those who have an interest in climate change denial also have an interest in the lab-leak theory: Western big business.

          Muttonbird. You really should not assume that your oblique references are clear to all.

          Not sure how "Western big business" should benefit from exploration of the lab leak hypothesis. You do understand that the Wuhan Lab received funding from the US government to continue bat/human coronavirus research that was under a moratorium in the US…because of very real concerns of a potential leak?

          • Muttonbird

            To clarify, I think Western big business has an interest in climate change denial because a) that is observably true and b) any action against climate change erodes profits.

            I also think Western big business has an interest in the lab-leak theory because they have been at war with China over trade and intellectual property and anything that weakens China boost profits.

            • Rosemary McDonald

              and anything that weakens China boost profits.

              If the lab leak hypothesis gains ground…both China and the US will come under equal scrutiny. And censure. Whatever credibility either has on the world stage will be eroded. Is this the rise of Europe?

          • McFlock

            or the "very real concerns" were a pretext to enforce a political decision made by a lickspittle of the orange shitgibbon.

        • joe90

          More about getting the former guy off the hook, I reckon.

          Move perceptions from the tRump regimes ineptitude allowed a pandemic to run rampant costing hundreds of thousands of American lives to everything that could've been done was done after the inept Chinese lost control of their engineered a bio weapon.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            tRump regimes ineptitude Poor lad. He was busy demanding that 'Chy Na' be held to account and positively foaming at the mouth. Then he went very quiet on the issue. Could it be some underling whispered in his ear that despite the apparent US/Sino sabre -rattling…there were very close ties between the two great nations. Especially in bat/human coronavirus- with- gain -of- function research.


          • Muttonbird

            That too.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1.2

        One is a meeting of 100s of scientists, who are well known and leaders in their fields


        The other is a sort of leak of a suggestion from a US intell agency who have to tailor the intel to Trumps claims.

        • joe90

          The author of first twitter thread above notes, someone [is] shopping something that isn't an IC assessment as an IC assessment.

      • Nic181 2.1.3

        “Belief closes the mind, thought reaches no final conclusion. It looks forward always to new evidence.”

        Maurice Gee “The Plumb Trilogy.”

        This should be written large in every High School Science Lab.

    • Rosemary McDonald 2.2

      Ooooh!!! Conspiracy theorists!!! Head for the hills! Lock up your daughters!

      You have read this…https://science.thewire.in/the-sciences/origins-of-covid-19-who-opened-pandoras-box-at-wuhan-people-or-nature/ ?

      This? https://science.sciencemag.org/content/372/6543/694.1

      This? https://zenodo.org/record/4477081#.YKwdON2xX3h

      or even this….https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2021/02/01/about-that-claim-that-sars-cov-2-is-not-a-natural-zoonosis-but-instead-is-laboratory-derived/ …which disputes the previous report.

      Just a few of very many papers and articles published over the past 18 months that present evidence (or not) that disagrees with what rapidly became the only acceptable explanation of the origin of Te Virus.

      Just so you understand….science simply does not (or should not) work like this. Science is not about dogma and belief and the casting of slurs against those who have a differing hypothesis.

      Its about research and evidence and open mindedness …and certainly should not be driven by or dictated to by a compromised media.

      The most interesting contributor to one of the above publications is a researcher with a long history of bat / human coronavirus research (with a special side order of gain of function) who also happened to work closely with the lead virologist at the Wuhan Lab. He and his mates called for more investigation very shortly after the publication of Wades article.


      This is truly fascinating stuff.

      • Because of all known SARS-related beta-coronaviruses, only SARS2 possesses a furin cleavage site. All the other viruses have their S2 unit cleaved at a different site and by a different mechanism. [From the bottom article linked by Rosemary]

        Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity pointed to this furin cleavage many months ago.

        And Fauci (of Donald Trump infamy) has his corporate fingers deeply inserted in the whole sorry business, along with blokes like Daszak.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          Furin cleavage is well above your pay grade

          "The furin cleavage site in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is required for transmission in ferrets"

          Do you even know what 'a furin' is ?

          We saw this during the lockdowns, the instant epidemiology experts. People who often dont even know how mail is sorted before delivery can come up with these theories about how infectious viruses spread.

          • You're quite right, ghost, I don't know what a furin is. But I can read and reason, and I know Martenson pointed out that no other SARS virus has such an addition way back in April or May of last year – and got roundly turned on for showing the obvious evidence of human tampering with the virus.

      • Noel 2.2.2

        And another. Those altered rodents with human genes make it plausible.


    • McFlock 2.3

      but I thought the Italians had it in September 2019

      But now three workplace colleagues got flu-like symptoms in autumn. Smoking gun right there lol

      All this origin debate is just geopolitical agenda-puching. Leave it 20 years and someone might actually figure something out with relative impartiality.

      • Rosemary McDonald 2.3.1

        The evidence is stacking up McFlock and one day, as you say, we may have the 'answers'. In the meantime. Today, as it was 18 months ago when the Chinese govt 'gave the genome to the world' there are signs aplenty that this was a lab born virus. What might have been really, really useful (other than being able to trust WHO etc) was a few clues from the source on the best way of dealing with this.

        but hey, we're just an ordinary charity….

        (There is no date when this was filmed. Might have been at the Dec 2019 Virus Conference in Singapore. https://www.ncid.sg/News-Events/Events/Pages/Nipah-Virus-International-Conference.aspx )

        • McFlock

          1: "signs aplenty"? No more than for any other possible origin.

          2: They did map the genetis sequence and share it quickly, helping to enable fast case transmission tracking (amongst other things).

          3: what relevance does a half hour video from a conference about another virus have to your comment or the issue at hand?

          • mauī

            "1: "signs aplenty"? No more than for any other possible origin."

            Hmm… The virus first emerged in one of only a handful of places in the world that has a laboratory that studies bat coronaviruses. The same lab also has in its possession the closest known relative virus to covid19.

            And you give equal weight to other origin theories??

            • Incognito

              The same lab also has in its possession the closest known relative virus to covid19.

              Really? Which virus might that be? And they have or had this live virus in the lab?

              I doubt you can back that up so I won’t even ask you.

              • Rosemary McDonald


                In 2004, deep in the wilderness of China's Yunnan province, a group of scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology discovered a cave full of wild bats carrying hundreds of SARS-related viruses.

                Their work, published in a draft paper in 2005, unearthed the link between SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and bats for the first time.

                Now the virologist who led that study, Shi Zhengli, has revealed one of the strains found in that cave — the exact location of which is a closely guarded secret — is almost identical to the 2019-nCoV coronavirus which has so far killed at least 1,115 people and infected more than 45,000 worldwide, news.com.au reports.

                • Incognito

                  That’s just so lovely, thanks heaps

                  Unfortunately, it doesn’t say what you and mauī think it says and it doesn’t mean what you and mauī think it means.

                  Since the two of you will just keep beating around the bush, let’s assume you’re thinking of RaTG13. That will help sharpen the mind somewhat.

                  It seems that both of you believe that the Wuhan lab had this mystical virus “in its possession”. Taking this belief a few steps further, it is entirely plausible, very likely, if you’re so inclined, that they were experimenting with it. You know, that gain-of-function stuff and other scary bio-weaponising Frankensteinish work. And of course, the lab bats were sold on the wet market and the rest is history. Dan Brown would be proud.

                  A clue is in the link you provided. Another clue is in my comment to McFlock. I’m afraid you’re barking into the wrong cave.

                  In addition, I think that you believe that “almost identical” means what you think it means. It does not, but if you want fly that balloon, I cannot stop you from flying it as high as a kite.

                  If only we could find that cave again but the bat may have flown …

            • McFlock

              Hmmm. How many is a "handful"? Any other source of bats nearby? Is the bat virus transported across the reagion in any other way?

              The first workplace heavily affected (2/3 workers+) seems to have been a fresh meat/livestock market.

              The lab allegedly had 3 cases in a vaguely appropriate timeline – but really appropriate? Covid19 spreads fast. A week or two here or there dramatically changes the infection rate the following month.

              And why do you even care? Will knowledge of the virus' origin change your behaviour or affect your life in any way? Or are you just invested in the lab idea to satisfy some other internal narrative you have playing in your brain?

              My internal narrative tends to be along the lines of "nutbars gonna nutbar, fuckit. Next thing some fucking moron will be beating up a Korean because they can't even target their stupidity right and they read about labs on the interwebs". Just in case you were wondering.

      • Anne 2.3.2

        Leave it 20 years and someone might actually figure something out with relative impartiality.

        I would wager a bet that in 20 years time the response will be:

        The first conclusion was the correct conclusion. That is: the source was a Wuhan Wet Market where the virus jumped from an animal to a human. The difference being in 20 years time they will be able to determine beyond reasonable doubt which animal it was… by which time nobody will care.

        The simplest and obvious conclusions inevitably turn out to be the correct ones. But there will always be nutbar conspiracy theorists and their assorted followers who want to claim a sinister plot. Look no further than the assassination of President Jack Kennedy in the 1960s.

        • weston

          Yep its just as well anne we live in a world of decency and mutual respect and where noone ever conspires with anyone else to cover up a dirty secret !!So simple really

          • Anne

            Oh so you're a follower of conspiracy theorists are you. There's always a few lurking around every corner.

            Covering up dirty secrets like heinous crime, genocide or producing fraudulent documents as we have just discovered in respect of the BBC is something else altogether. Maybe you are not equipped to recognise the difference.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          The first conclusion was the correct conclusion.

          Anne. Last year, in late January, there was at least one virologist quoted on Natrad as saying the virus had obvious signs of being lab made. (It must have been RNZ as they are the only station we were listening to and we don't do telly.) Others heard this. Others also remember this being one of the original hypotheses.

          Within days this hypothesis was declared a "conspiracy theory" and all further discussion along those lines was mocked, silenced and 'debunked'. This was the very first sign that there was something very, very odd going on.

          And what on earth do you mean when you say "conclusion"? As far as I am aware no one has conclusively proved any of the hypotheses.

          The jury is still out.

          The simplest and obvious conclusions inevitably turn out to be the correct ones

          Just for shits and giggles, why don't you provide us with a bit of proof to back up that rather sweeping statement?

          • McFlock

            Damned if I know how to argue facts with someone who can't remember their sources and then reckons that people calling BS on an unsupported claim is somehow suspicious.

      • Incognito 2.3.3

        I can see a pattern and it contains the prime number 3 wink

        In spring 2012, three miners cleaning bat feces in an abandoned copper mine near the town of Tongguan in Mojiang Hani Autonomous County developed fatal pneumonia.


  3. Ad 3

    I'd like to give a shoutout to the Prime Minister for recommending Dame Cindy Kiro to be Governor General. Dame Patsy Reddy was of course a corporate lawyer versed in high capitalism's deals within networks within deals: the quintessential National appointment.

    Dame Kiro is all about the poor and disenfranchised.

    This is a pure Labour move. And a good, human one.

    • Robert Guyton 3.1

      "She said she was born to a very poor family so she knows about the hard work and perseverance required to succeed.

      Asked what she brings to the role, she said: "Community and service"."

      I agree with Ad.

      • Incognito 3.1.1

        Is it too early to draw a parallel between the first names of the GG and the PM? This could get confusing for those who like to talk down on the PM. Still, there’s always the relatively young age of the PM that can be used, as Peter Dunne CNZM demonstrated recently.

    • Muttonbird 3.2

      David Farrar has congratulated her on her appointment.

      But then he used the post to claim, because she has succeeded having come from a poor Northland background, the system is working well.

      She was born in Whangarei and raised by her grandparents, who were manual labourers. A great example of New Zealand being a socially mobile country.

      The inference being if she can do it, why can’t all poor people do it.

      • Incognito 3.2.1

        Few rise to the top by merit alone and the top is for few only. Hierarchical systems have processes in place to maintain order, structure & stability, and preservation of traditions & rules through loyalty and rules & recognition for promotion and award/reward. Without wanting to piss on individuals, their accomplishments & achievements, and their awards & appointments, I personally am strongly against hierarchies and the legalised and/or sanctioned authority that flows from them. It goes against my core principle that all people are equal of being and inequality of position runs counter to that. I could dedicate a whole post or two to centralisation of political and economic power, which some seem to consider the bee’s knees and the best thing since sliced bread, but I always cringe internally when I hear about this.

        End of first morning rant.

        • greywarshark

          A finely crafted one in pure human-think (which is the best material available on Planet Earth).

      • millsy 3.2.2

        Farrar's argument falls to bits when you point out that Kiro was born in 1958, so she would have still picked up all the welfare state goodies, award wages and free education that was on offer.

      • AB 3.2.3

        Yeah – because it's really really smart to design things based on a self-serving assumption that the exception is the actually norm.

    • Muttonbird 4.1

      It's ACT policy. Very strange this government is pursuing it. However, it is a way for them to introduce another tax without it being called a tax.

      • greywarshark 4.1.1

        Perhaps they realise that a bedrock of surety of money to people enables people to grow, not inflation the big supposed bugbear of the irrational wealthy classes.

    • RedBaronCV 4.2

      I find this weird from Labour too – right up there with public sector wage freezes and a gift to any future right wing administration who would use this to ditch universal welfare payments. A great big vote loser.

      And who can afford it anyway as it would effectively be another large tax. The younger cohort already pay about 20 cents income tax, 15 cents GST, 12 cents student loans, Kiwisaver 3 cents, ACC say 2 cents which leaves about 48 cents in the dollar for the rest.. Highly regressive of course.

      The only people who could afford it would be the ones who could save a nest egg to tide them over anyway

      What an idiot suggestion to waste political capital on. I'm over labour big time.

      • Craig Hall 4.2.1

        If they can't afford it, can they afford not to have it? Maybe the design is to agree that the insurance only insures above the dole, so at least some of it is automatically covered. Currently some people can and do afford income protection (me included) while others can't or aren't eligible (my wife), so this would fantastic for us.

        Universal coverage is how we get the Nats and others on board and avoiding it getting discarded after a few years.

        • Treetop

          About as attractive as a ponzi scheme.

          I can see that income protection works for you.

      • Nic the NZer 4.2.2

        The important principal to remember about Labour parties is they really believe all their deficit crap.

        So National are not going to let a deficit get in the way of a tax cut policy they want implemented, though they will cut or argue against public spending on that same basis.

        But this is the reason Labour attempted the wage freeze. Also the basis for the super fund (e.g the govt pre-funding its later super based deficit), and this will function similarly to that. Labour wants the govt books to be in surplus and to be telling us how great they are at running the govt profitably (while disregarding the necessary expanding housing bubble which supports this).

    • Treetop 4.3

      Using ACC as a possible template.

      Who is going to make the final decision for the deserving person and how long is it going to take to pay up and how much will it cost?

      National and Act will privatise or rob ACC to fund the insurance scheme for loss of jobs, leave it alone.

      • Pat 4.3.1

        All to be worked out….but the fact that Labour think a compulsory unemployment insurance scheme is a good idea should be pause for thought.

        • Treetop

          Another BIG idea requiring time. About time that Labour deliver and fix up the important issues housing, health, child welfare instead of day dreaming.

          There are already that many insurances.

          What difference would another insurance against loss of job make?

  4. Pat 5

    Act?…Robertson has been pushing this for ages and I doubt it is Act in his ear

    It is akin to a mechanic buying mechanical breakdown insurance….possibly the the biggest rort there ever was.

    Another sop to the finance industry to help prop up the credit bubble.

    • greywarshark 5.1

      I have been with AA – auto insurance – for years and have happily paid up for the use of reliable services when there is a breakdown, whether it is my silly fault or whatever. Some years I have none and I keep paying because it is not too dear, and I get pleasant helpful reliable service if and when in need. People with insurance from the private sector, don't always get a fair deal like I do with the AA which is dedicated to vehicle help.

      If we had unemployment insurance from the government, and not a PPP either, then we could achieve the same satisfactory outcome. Other assistance would be available, but insurance holders wouldn't have to go down on their knees to the Department of Miserable Gits to be able to carry on their lives.

      • Pat 5.1.1

        Im not comparing it to road side assist…im comparing it to mechanical insurance as per link.


        The unemployment insurance that is being examined is modelled on ACC but with a time limitation ….it is estimated to cost up to 5 billion p.a. for 6 months cover ….a 2 tier welfare system ….and the way ACC has been operated in recent times is no recommendation and I'd suggest the courts are over extended already without adding yet more potential disputes. The Gov have the ability when needed to extend support as and when needed as has been amply demonstrated with covid without burdening society with an additional slush fund to the benefit of the financial markets and over exposed banks.

      • Patricia Bremner 5.1.2

        I agree Greywarshark, there are too many ready to decry any moves to improve things.

        Motives are attached to the moves, sometimes on the flimsiest of reasons and mostly negative. Past experience has shaken our belief in the intent of policies.

        This Government is looking at the state of things that undermine wellbeing of people and the moves to have a period of insurance for loss of income, like the protection of the first fifty thousand in the bank, help ordinary people to have time to reorganise and to protect their hard earned small asset base while sorting their future.

        There will always be welfare in NZ, how it is provided and the strings attached are the important issues. Those worried about failures of some models should present those ideas to working groups.

        Personally, I have been surprised how negative some posters are. For them, no change is good enough great enough left enough or just enough.

        The Government represents all of us as well as they can, often in a period of constant threats.

        My biggest sorrow is the failure to improve things more for those with permanent or worsening disabilities. Far more needs to be done in that space imo.

        • Pat

          Id be very interested to know what possible justification any Labour supporter can offer for an additional unemployment insurance scheme over and above a universal welfare benefit?

          • greywarshark

            It seems to me that Patricia and Pat are both right.

            Patricia with a long explanation of what might have to be done to achieve anything, pragmatic. And Pat with a terse query as to why this would be necessary when we have the systems in place already, rational.

            Unfortunately it seems to Patricia and me that rational no longer has an assured place in NZ, and so pragmatic is the way of necessity. Grasping the nettle may be required.

  5. KSaysHi 6

    The first I read of this story turned out to be incorrect information that suggested a terrorist bomb scare forcing the sudden diversion of a RyanAir flight resulting in the terrorist being detained, when it fact it was someone who spoke out against the current leadership of Belarius and the bomb scare was a ploy to get the passenger jet to land in Minsk – quite different. Here is the scoop from Glen Grenwald.


    Protasevich, even while in exile, was a leading oppositional voice, using an anti-Lukashenko channel on Telegram — one of the few remaining outlets dissidents have — to voice criticisms of the regime. For those activities, he was formally charged with various national security crimes, and then, last November, was placed on the official “terrorist list” by Belarus’ intelligence service (still called the "KGB” from its days as a Soviet republic).

    Lukashenko's own press service said the fighter jet was deployed on orders of the leader himself, telling the Ryanair pilot that they believed there was a bomb or other threat to the plane on board. When the plane landed in Minsk, an hours-long search was conducted and found no bomb or any other instrument that could endanger the plane's safety, and the plane was then permitted to take off and land thirty minutes later at its intended destination in Lithuania. But two passengers were missing. Protasevich was quickly detained after the plane was forced to land in Minsk and is now in a Belarusian jail, where he faces a possible death sentence as a "terrorist” and/or a lengthy prison term for his alleged national security crimes. His girlfriend, traveling with him, was also detained despite facing no charges. Passengers on the flight say Protasevich began panicking when the pilot announced that the plane would land in Minsk, knowing that his fate was sealed and telling other passengers that he faces a death sentence.

    • greywarshark 6.1

      Yes that was a puzzling one KSaysHi and required that every word be read and checked twice to assess what actually happened and the apparent cause.

  6. joe90 7

    No bath tub accidents?

  7. Arthur Freeman 8

    I recall the 1945 UK election, I must have been all of eight years old. Us kids had a song which went as follows.

    Vote vote for Aneurin Bevan.

    Hang old Churchill from the tree.

    Aneurin is the one who will give us all the fun

    You can chuck old Churchill in the sea.

    [please stick to the e-mail address that has been approved previously, thanks]

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

  8. greywarshark 9

    I saw the heading in a travel advertisement – Experience Australia Like Never Before! And I wondered if they were offering tours to see the rellies and conditions in Manus Island? Now that would be very different.

  9. Muttonbird 11

    Chris Lynch is one of several right wing broadcast personalities having trouble with their identity and reach lately.

    Looks like he's joining the recent exodus of outdated, disenfranchised, white, conservative shock jocks, Leighton Smith, Mike Hoskings, Sean Plunkett, John Banks, Larry Williams, Paul Henry, etc, etc.

    There's always podcasts. May the door hit their collective arses on the way out.


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