Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sept.1: No news? Invent some.

On the front page of today's The Moncton Times&Transcript is the ultimate no-news story. Nothing has happened. Nobody has said it should. But it's a story. "Why not a clock tower in downtown Moncton?".We could put it way up on the Bell Aliant Tower so eveybody in the city could see it.


Hey! Why not? Hardly anybody owns a watch these days. And the whole world would be watching us.

Who suggested this? The article doesn't say anybody did. The only person who has any expertise, a local clockmaker, says only that it would be difficult, if not impossible, and hugely expensive.

Nobody except the reporter has even suggested it. And a goofball idea that would cost a fortune is probably not a first priority for the city in this time of economic crisis.(Well, maybe somebody on council is thinking of it - one of the same geniuses who wants a hundred million dollar hockey rink and a CFL team.)

Of course, there's also a story about the loan for the hockey rink. It's possible the feds will come through on this. Harper's idea of dealing with an economic crisis seems to be building areaas all over the country. It's likely they will all lose money - except for the team owners.

By the way, we haven't yet seen even estimates of what all these projects will cost, and exactly what we will get out of them (Not the chain-hotel owners, not the team owners. Us. What will we get?Minimum wage jobs as waiters and ushers?)

That's pretty much it for section A. The high point is that clock tower story. That's the sort of stunt a paper pulls when it doesn't want to tell you what's going on, but has to fill a space  somehow.

For news propaganda, military authorities commonly set up photo ops for journalists.. A classic case was the staged toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad. For a more recent example, see p. B1. It is a woman who just happens to be very pretty, and is wearing a neat and attractive outfit. She is said to be flashing a V for victory sign. This is a sign well-known in the West from World War Two. But not well-known in Libya. That's why she didn't quite get the pose right.

We still don't know how many have been killed, who the leading rebels are, what they want, or how an "upopular" regime which fell a week ago is still holding out. Nor have we been told about the British, French and American soldiers who were in Libya from the start- in violation of the UN mandate.

Watch Syria from the next "humanitarian"  mission by NATO. It's the new way to go to war  without bothering to get approval from Congress or Parliament. That must be why Obama got the peace prize.

The business page has a story about Springboard Atlantic, a cooperative effort between universities and big business. Cooperation means big business will give money to fund reserach projects in the universities - but only if that research produces profits for business.

In other words, big business is taking over the universities, getting into our tax money and our university fees to subsidize the research which big business should be doing itself and entirely with its own money. It's much like the way we subsidize electricity for big business in this province.

Many people in the universities don't like it. But they won't say a word. The universities have to kiss up if they want to survive. The universities could do a good job at far less than they are spending now. But their obsession with prestige and snobbery comes at a high price. Thus the reliance on corporations.

Now that scientists are losing the freedom of research; there is going to be heavy damage to all studies at the universities that don't produce profits for somebody else; and they will continue to be the teaching institutions they always have been - third rate. (And hold you breath waiting for the research showing that certain pills are harmful - or anything else  cororations don't want you to know.

The editorial  is interesting, sort of. it's the usual pitch to get a CFL team. But I am curious about one point. To get a team you need somebody who is going to buy it. I wonder who that somebody is going to be. Can you guess?

As usual, the only columns worth reading are those by Alec Bruce and Jody Dallaire.

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