Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dec.1: Wow! A first page with news on it.

No, it's not the story about the Moncton bar that got an award from Music New Brunswick. It's the lead story about Dr. Anthony Ingraffea's talk at the Capitol Theatre last evening. Again, it's a well-written story. I would add to it only the feeling of community and enthusiasm in the audience. It was a refreshing experience.

Inevitably, at question period, you get somebody who grabs the mike to make his own speech. This time it was David Plante speaking for the New Brunswick Mining Association. He is reported as raising two points - both of them rather strange.
1. "it's difficult to hear someone talk about how things worked in Pennsylvania and other states, and assume the same thing will happen in Canada."

Very true. If you hit somebody with a baseball bat in Pennsylvania and other states, it will  hurt him. But one shouldn't assume getting hit with a baseball bat will  hurt a New Brunswicker. So let's try.

2. There's been no cost-benefit analysis.
Another good point. I mean, if we make enough money out of it, it's worth poisoning the earth, air, and water. Our kids will thank us for it.

SWN Resources and the government of NB were invited to send speakers to participate. They didn't. There's a story that SWN refused to participate because it wouldn't have been given enough time.

Right. The format offered would have given them a total of 20 minutes PLUS the very long and tedious time given to Mr. Plante. In all, that would have been a little more than the 30 minutes allotted to Dr. Ingraffea. And we all know how SWN loves to give equal time to anti-frackers at it presentations.

Amazingly, there's a third story on fracking (I cannot bring myself to spell 'fracing'.) In this one, Premier Alward announces that all that's going on is exploring. No rush. Exploring will take another three to five years.

But, gee, Mr. Alward, exploring has been going on for a dozen years - and it poses all the dangers that production of shale gas does. And we still, as Mr. Alward has said, don't have any adequate regulations or enforcement in place. That means we could be poisoning this province for a total of seventeen years by Mr. Alward's reckoning. Lotsa time. Lotsa time.

In connection with this is an important story on NewsToday. The thawing of permafrost seems to be releasing methane into the atmosphere at a much greater rate than realized. That, in turn, is speeding  up global warming - which releases more methance. By coincidence, methane is the gas that we commonly call shale gas. Lotsa time. Lotsa time. And, anyway, we gotta do a cost/benefit study.

The big story about Harper is that he is about to pass Diefenbaker to become Canada's ninth longest-serving pm.  Well, duh... In most Canadian newspapers, the big, Turner story is that with Canada already the world's largest polluter per capita, Harper is busy wrecking the world climate control conference in Durban. The stories about this in other Canadian papers feature words like coward, irresponsible, shameful, and embarassment.....    But in Moncton, the big story is he's going to pass Diefenbaker. Tweet, tweet.

I emphasize national and international news because New Brunswickers get almost no information in print about them. And they do affect us. Like it or not, we are part of Canada, part of a continent, part of the world. What happens to other countries happens to us. What  happens to us happens to them.

Anyone who pours poisons out into land, water or sky poisons everybody.

As well, the TandT has yet to publish anything significant on the very dangerous situation developing in Pakistan - and nothing on Syria or Iran, and very little on LIbya. There are no reports at all on the growing use of drones - and their high civilian casulaties.

That's important. We are going to be drawn into all those dangerous situations. Tehran is not in another world. Military transports could be carrying Canadians there to risk their lives, and get them from Moncton to Tehran in a day.

And on the next Nov. 11, we will all turn out to be all solemn about those who died there, and how we must all remember t hem.

Hell, the time to remember your soldiers is BEFORE you send them. We have to ask first why we are sending them, whether it is necessary or advisable to send them, whose interests are served by sending them....

We cannot do that without information. And we certainly are not getting information from BrunswickMedia.

Solid columns on the editorial page - Norbert opens his with the funniest paragraph I've seen in ages. He also examines book reviews to say (correctly, I think) that Peter Newman is a much overrated journalist and writer. Of course, Norbert knows about this from reading book reviews in a newspaper that has them. The Moncton TandT is one of the very few dailies I've seen that does not have a weekly book review section. That must be the fault of t he education system - or the Liberals - or the Occupy movement....whatever.

On the op ed, a solid column by Jody Dallaire. Above hers is one by Rod Allen. Like most of the efforts that grace that City Views slot, it needs close study to figure out what it's about, and why it was  written in the first place. That takes time. I've read it several times, and still haven't figured what it's about. Or why.

Oh - today's paper has the weekly events section. Check out the entries for the Moncton Library. You won't find my name there. It gets sent in to advertise the current events group at the library the first Tuesday of each month at 7 pm. But the TandT, perhaps as a public service, doesn't publish the part that announces my group.

Anyway, it's December 6, 7pm at the library. This week, the opening topic is school ratings (as in MacLean's university ratings and in the rating of New Brunswick public schools) - why they're a fraud, and how they do tremendous damage to education.

Finally, as Norbert likes to end his column with a quotation, I'll try it.

According to Senator Joan Fraser, the New Brunswick news media are so dysfunctional (almost entirely because of Irving control) that they are the worst in the developed world.

For the full story, google Joan Fraser Brunswickmedia. It should be the first one that pops up. (Senator Fraser was on a parliamentary committee that did a major study of news media in Canada.She was also a major figure in Canadian news media, rising to be editor of The Montreal Gazette.)

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