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3-Min Explainer: The Government’s Plan To Rescue Our Economy Froths Yet Another Fossil Fuel

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The good news is the government wants to spend a fucktonne of cash to help the economy recover from the pandemic. The bad news is that the cash is going to go towards a slew of new natual gas projects which will do nothing but double down Australia’s love affair with fossil fuels.

Obviously, at a time when the effects of climate change are becoming more and more noticeable, the last thing we should be doing is setting ourselves up for another few decades of runaway greenhouse gas emissions.

And yet that’s exactly what the government thinks is the best solution to the current economic situation.

“To help fire our economic recovery, the next plank in our JobMaker plan is to deliver more Australian gas where it is needed at an internationally competitive price,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced.

“We’ll work with industry to deliver a gas hub for Australia that will ensure households and businesses enjoy the benefits of our abundant local gas while we hold our position as one of the top global liquefied natural gas exporters.”

If you think it sounds bad, you’re right. Here’s why.

How much more gas does the government want to extract?

Heaps.

As part of the plan, $28.3 million will go towards “unlocking” five major gas basins. They include the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory, and Queensland’s North Bowen and Galilee basins.

The Galilee Basin might sound familiar. That’s because it’s already the site of 10 major fossil fuel projects or proposals, including the infamous Adani coal mine.

Among a frankly huge laundry list of reasons why these existing coal projects shouldn’t go ahead, one is that exporting them via sea will completely wreck the Great Barrier Reef.

Liquefied natural gas is often transported by – you guessed it – ships, and they may well contribute to ruining the world’s largest natural reef.

On top of that, the government also wants to set supply targets for the states, pushing them to produce more gas. And for licence holders, a “use-it or lose it” requirement may come into play meaning a bunch of potential projects would suddenly become very real.

What will this do for us?

Supporters of the government’s plan will say more gas means cheaper energy prices, and that includes electricity, as well as cooking and heating if you have gas at home.

“We are building a robust and competitive gas industry that will allow both gas producers and users to thrive, with lower prices and lower emissions benefiting all Australians,” Energy Minister Angus Taylor said.

The thing is, these new infrastructure projects will take years to get up and running, so there’ll be absolutely no positive impacts to the cost of electricity in the short term.

Also, the government wants a to supposedly “level the negotiating playing field for gas producers and consumers through a voluntary industry-led code of conduct,” which, if gas producers’ previous conduct is anything to go by, will be weak as shit.

The one thing that’s not debatable is that these projects will create jobs, but many of those jobs could’ve been created by investing in renewable energy instead.

Isn’t natural gas supposed to be better for the environment?

Yeah, nah.

Firstly, there’s nothing more “natural” about natural gas than there is about coal, coffee or the coronavirus. So don’t be fooled by the name – it’s still a dirty, environmentally-unfriendly fossil fuel.

Gas is bad for the environment the from the moment it’s extracted. Many of the projects the government wants to carry out, for example, will depend on fracking, which is already polluting the ground, crops and water in Australia and around the world.

Then there’s the gas which leaks from the wells when it’s being extracted. This goes straight into the atmosphere, and for some gasses like methane, they’re literally among the worst greenhouse gasses out there.

Finally, all this gas is supposed to be burned one way or another. Sure, burning gas is usually cleaner than burning coal, but it’s still shit for the environment, especially when zero-emission alternatives like solar and wind are *waves hands at the entire continent* right there.

Is the government only focusing on fossil fuels and ignoring renewables?

Not entirely, but they’re really not in the spotlight compared to all the aforementioned shit.

The government’s pledging $95.4 million to help the agricultural, manufacturing, industrial and transport sectors become more energy-efficient. That’s a small step in the right direction.

However, it’s also pledging $50 million to support carbon-capture projects, which is a relatively unproven way to keep fossil fuel plants running on their last legs.

For transport, the government wants to invest in hydrogen and biofuels, two solutions which sound decent in theory but are far more inefficient than existing battery technology.

Thankfully, there is an alternative. The Million Jobs Plan, backed by tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, aims to create 125,000 jobs by next year through $25 billion in renewable energy investment. Beyond that, hundreds of thousands more jobs could be created by the plan.

But for the time being, as far as the government’s concerned, renewables have clearly taken a back seat to yet another goddamn fossil fuel.

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Homestead Rescue: Raney Ranch: New Series Coming to Discovery

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In its first two seasons, The Wall has been a moderate success for NBC. However, it’s been off the air for two years. Will this be a case of “absence making the heart grow fonder” and translate into big ratings for NBC or, will viewers have forgotten show even existed? Will The Wall be cancelled or renewed for season four? Stay tuned.

Airing on the NBC television network, The Wall TV show is hosted by Chris Hardwick. The game follows pairs of players as they pursue a cash prize of up to $12 million. When a team answers a trivia question correctly, a green ball drops from the top of the grid-like wall and bounces randomly toward the bottom of the four-stories high structure. At the bottom of the wall, the ball will land in one of many slots, each with a value of $1 to $1 million. That value is added to the team’s total winnings. If the team misses a question, a red ball descends toward a random slot. The resulting amount is then deducted from the team’s total. In this game, players need both the answers and lucky bounces, to win a big cash prize.

The ratings are typically the best indication of a show’s chances of staying on the air. The higher the ratings, the better the chances for survival. This chart will be updated as new ratings data becomes available.

9/25 update: You can see the latest night’s ratings in context.

Note: If you’re not seeing the updated charts, please try reloading the page or view them here and here.

Note: Because NBC has broken season three up between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 broadcast seasons, the ratings are presented here in two different charts. The averages are included on the respective season charts (2019-20 and 2020-21).

For comparisons: The second half of season two of The Wall (which aired during the 2017-18 season) averaged a 1.05 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 5.20 million viewers.

Note: These are the final national numbers (unless noted with an “*”). These are different from the fast affiliate numbers which are just estimates of the actual ratings. The final nationals are typically released within 24 hours of the programming or, in the case of weekends and holidays, a couple days later.

 

What do you think? Do you like the The Wall TV series on NBC? Should it be cancelled or renewed for a fourth season?

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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘30 for 30: The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius’ on ESPN, a Marathon Documentary About a Fallen Idol

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30 for 30: The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius finds ESPN’s highly acclaimed documentary series once again going the true-crime route. This four-part, 340-minute saga deep-dives into the story of Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympic sprinting champion who was a hero in his native South Africa until Valentine’s Day 2013, when he was arrested for allegedly murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. It’s the second four-part doc on Pistorius, after Amazon’s nearly four-hour Pistorius series, which debuted in 2019. Why so many hours on one man and one alleged crime? Well, it’s very, very complicated — and it’s also a recent trend for documentary series to stretch out and indulge all the space that streaming services allow them. We watched the first 90-minute episode of Life and Trials to see how deep it sets its hook.

Opening Shot: An establishing shot of an outdoor fence in the wee hours of the morning. Title card: 14 FEBRUARY 2013. Pretoria, South Africa.

The Gist: Oscar Pistorius’ family members remember Valentine’s Day, 2013 vividly. His siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins were awakened by calls that someone had been shot at Oscar’s house — specifically, Reeva Steenkamp. And she was dead. Shot by Oscar. He fired through a toilet door. He said he mistook her for a burglar in the dark. We see a still photo of him from that night, shirtless and covered with blood.

Authorities, however, were piecing together another story. Neighbors said they heard sounds of an altercation prior to the gunshots. Police said they had been called to the residence previously for domestic incidents. And didn’t it seem odd that Oscar pulled the trigger before he attempted to identify the person in his bathroom? Nigh-countless media outlets quickly descended on the scene, scraping up tidbits and running with them — the discovery of supplements in the house quickly became headlines about a “roid rage” murder. Local journalists couldn’t believe the predatory frenzy. Oscar’s friends, family and fellow athletes were shocked, and still testify to the strength and quality of his character.

It was a long fall from glory for Oscar. The doc details his bio: Born with a congenital defect, he had both feet amputated before he was a year old. It didn’t faze him. He walked and ran on his stumps, keeping up with schoolmates and siblings. In high school, he played rugby on prosthetics, which would routinely fall off, prompting officials to pause the game so they could be refitted. A knee injury pushed him toward running, and by age 17, he competed in the Athens Paralympics, obliterating world records on a pair of prosthetic blades. He was nicknamed Blade Runner, “the fastest man on no legs.”

He was also a point of pride for a country that desperately needed one. During and after the Apartheid era, South Africa was notorious for its history of violence. One expert says residents have “collective PTSD” after its many Experts testify that domestic violence is an epidemic in the country — and that’s why Oscar’s apparent murder of his girlfriend inspired considerable public divisiveness. You either absolutely believed his story, or absolutely condemned him as a villain. There was no in-between. “GOLDEN BOY LOSES SHINE” reads one tabloid headline — it’s undoubtedly true, but at this point in the story, we’re not sure how much shine he’s lost. Meanwhile, in jail, Oscar was deemed a suicide risk. His family was distraught. He sobbed through court appearances. The defense team put together a justification for bail, and the judge agreed. He was free for the time being, but there was no way he was going back to his home.

Our Take: Eight minutes into this saga, I committed myself to watching the next 330 minutes. It triggered some serious true-crime-doc susceptibilities — the same ones that kept me glued to O.J.: Made in America, McMillions and I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. But director David Gordon didn’t quite sustain those vibes. The first 90 minutes of Life and Trials offered haphazard pacing, a cluttered constellation of talking heads and a final third that almost pointlessly draws out the drama of Pistorious’ bail hearing. A cursory internet search reveals further significant developments in the case, but I wondered if five-and-a-half hours — and then some — of this story would be revelatory for viewers, or just reveal Gordon’s need for further editing. And maybe Amazon’s Pistorius, which I haven’t seen, might be the better option?

And yet, 30 for 30 has so rarely failed us. The six hours of O.J. earned a theatrical release and Oscar win. Recent deep dives into Michael Vick, Dennis Rodman and Lance Armstrong were pretty fascinating. The brand carries weight. Sure, Life and Trials could use a fresh approach to the chronicling of a hero’s fall and the sensational media circus engulfing it. But part of me wanted to learn the details of Oscar’s trials and why, and if there will ever even be a why. Maybe Gordon will eventually justify the series’ protracted run time. Maybe it’ll draw the Pistorius family’s upper-class status, and the more arrogant side of Oscar’s personality, into greater focus. Maybe it’ll better clarify if public opinion of Oscar has changed since Reeva’s death seven years ago — it’s hard to discern if interviewees are discussing current or past feelings. Maybe we should give it another episode before we bail.

Sex and Skin: None.

Parting Shot: Earnestly addressing the camera, Oscar’s uncle, Arnold Pistorius, says Oscar never returned to his home once he was out on bail, because it’s impossible to get the horrible imagery of such an occurrence out of one’s mind.

Sleeper Star: Brian Frasure, an American Paralympic athlete and prosthetist, helped fit Oscar with state-of-the-art running prosthetics — then watches Oscar dash by him during competition.

Most Pilot-y Line: “In this case, it wasn’t whodunit. We know who did it. It was really about whydunit.” — forensic psychologist Gerard Labuschagne

Our Call: STREAM IT. The first episode of The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius is bumpy, inconsistent and a little bit frustrating. But maybe subsequent segments will straighten out the narrative — 30 for 30 deserves the benefit of the doubt.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work at johnserbaatlarge.com or follow him on Twitter: @johnserba.

Watch The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius on ESPN+

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NXT’s Damian Priest inspired by dad who once beat Chuck Norris

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Damian Priest achieved his first title in WWE last month when he captured the North American Championship at TakeOver: XXX.

The win was a huge moment for Priest, who signed with WWE in 2018 after nearly three years in Ring of Honor.

Priest has often said that his goal is to have his name “live forever” and he knows all about the importance of leaving a legacy thanks to his father who has lived an extraordinary life.

WWE

Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy, Priest explained that his father once beat martial artist, actor (and meme) Chuck Norris in an exhibition fight.

“(The story) was something that I heard from, not just him, but from other martial artists that were around in that era, in the 70s, and it was before Chuck Norris was even a name,” Priest said.

“They had an exhibition fight that wasn’t meant to have a winner, but they all said that if there was one by points, or whatever, my father landed way more strikes and kind of outperformed (Norris) so he would have won the fight in that sense.”

chuck norris

Gilbert CarrasquilloGetty Images

Related: Finn Balor says Bullet Club in NJPW “wasn’t a storyline”

Priest went on to explain that beating Chuck Norris is just one of many incredible stories about his father, whose unbelievable life has served as a huge inspiration to him.

“I think I got the idea from him of not being complacent and always wanting more, always needing more and that’s where I got the ‘live forever thing,'” he said.

“I want my name to live forever. Not me literally, I’m not a vampire. But it’s the idea of my name standing the test of time and not being willing to just stand in place because you think that that’s your place in life. I’ve always been like, ‘no I have to be more.'”

wwe nxt damian priest

WWE

Priest even said he once thought he would never get to WWE but that didn’t stop him from trying.

“I really wrote off WWE for a little bit,” he added. “I didn’t think I was gonna be able to make it here, but it didn’t stop me from trying so to speak or trying to improve which eventually did get me here.

“So I think it was my dad who I probably got it from he’s just one of those people just unwilling to be okay with just living, you have to live more.”

See Damian Priest in action on WWE NXT every Wednesday at 1am on BT Sport 1 HD and against Johnny Gargano for the North American Championship at NXT TakeOver 31 on the WWE Network.


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