Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18: An inspirational photo....

Its top of the front page, and it features premier Alward harnessed onto a wire way up in the air. It is a treasure that I have carefully folded and shall forever carry in a pocket next to my heart. The picture and story are about Cape Enrage, which now has a sort of clothes line  that one can slide along. (I can't help noticing that Alward and another MLA don't seem to be sliding. Postures and attitudes suggest they are sitting still just off the starting point. How like Mr. Alward to seem to be doing something while doing nothing at all!)

Speaking of doing nothing at all, that front page space would have been great to tell us what the TandT has been promising to tell us all about  for years. What is the story on shale gas? on loss of property values because of the drilling? of law suits? of environmental damage? on the many law suits against shale gas companies? on the settlements out of court? on environmental damage?

Or it could be the news on the sites examined for Moncton High, and the reasons why those sites were rejected.

There is so much more important news that should be on the front page. After all,to see Mr. Alward hanging a wire is not all that different from the way we normally see him - you know, with puppet strings.

Almost all of section A is so trivial and/or irrelevant that it explains why surveys report that so few newspaper readers ever read all of the stories or even all of some of them. Some studies show that readers of newspapers like this commonly read only headlines, and perhaps a couple of sentences of the story. There's not much reason to do even that in today's section A.

And why is there no story on the Highland Games? There's a page of pictures (buried on the last page of the section); but no story. The front page has a picture, and a long story, a full page and a half long about Alward dangling from a wire. P. 3 has two-thirds of a page on a skate park in Dieppe. The Highland Games get no story at all, despite an impressive display of work and organization and participation.

There's nothing unusual in seeing Mr. Alward hang like a puppet. There's nothing unusual in a skate park. There is surely something unusual in Moncton having an event like the Highland Games presented by a single community.

I would have tolerated that waste of a front page if they and at least brightened the photo of Alward with a Scots comment on it:

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a Lord
Wha struts and stares and a' that.
Tho hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that and a' that:
The man of independent mind
He looks and laughs at a' that.

The most important story in NewsToday is a warning that the snakehead fish could reach New Brunswick. (But not to worry. Our dumping of shalegas waters into our streams will kill them all.)
The so-called Your Investments page has a story about Harper being a big number at the Rio Summit. It's a nice contradiction that in reality he is a bit player - and not a very popular one.

NGOs attending the Rio conference awarded Canada the Fossil of the Year Award because of its backwardness on environmental conditions, it's cutting of aid to poor countries, and its damaging behaviour with regard to water and fisheries. (But that story didn't make the truthful Times.)

In reality, Canada's standing in the world - and Harper's - is in the toilet; and it's been that way for some time.

The editorial is the usual, ignorant rant at people who can't rant back, in this case - the Codiac bus drivers. I shall have some respect for whoever writes those editorials when he or she criticizes the wealthy and powerful.

Alec Bruce's column is well worth reading for a jolt of  reality.

Norbert Cunningham attacks public education. He has often done that. Ever notice that he never says a good word about it? Surely that is strange for a country which consistently ranks in the top ten in the world for public education. In this case, he argues that not nearly enough teachers get fired for incompetence. But let's leave aside, for the moment, the obvious - that Norbert doesn't know what he's talking about.

In a way, I'm surprised he should raise this point. In my many years in jourrnalism, I rarely saw a journalist get fired for incompetence. In my experience, journalists are more likely to get fired for telling the truth than for being incompetent. The job of the journalist, to a considerable degree, depends on kissing the boss' rear end by defending the boss from any criticism for the social and economic damage he does to ordinary people. That's why you have never seen a hint of criticism of the boss or his friends in The Moncton Times and Transcript. That's why it's okay to rant at Codiac bus drivers.  kiss. kiss. But it would be career suicide to blame the very rich for the economic crisis we are in.

In the case of public education, there's an even bigger story that this is a part of. There's a lot of money spent on public education. The boss wants a piece of it. That's why the "great minds" at AIMS have been conducting studies to show all that (they say) is wrong with public education. That's why they forced standardized testing on the schools - to force the schools to operate as if they were producing soft drinks on a production line.

The scientificness of standardized tests is a crock. It does not test schools. It does not test teachers. It is an added expense, a waste of money, an added tension for the students. The real purpose of it is to introduce elements of privatization into the schools so that the money-suckers who drain us can now suck the blood out of our children, too.

It's done in stages. First, there's the think tank 'studies'. Then there's the oozing in through standardized tests. Then there are fees to be paid to go to certain schools while funding for real public schools is reduced. And if you ever want a hope to go to university, you have to go to the fee-charging schools.

The US is now covered with such private and semi-private schools which, among other things, condemn the children of the slums to stay there forever. Middle class parents, a diminishing group as poverty spreads in the US, now face staggering fees before they can get to the really expensive university years.

Nor has education improved. Quite the contrary. American education, never as good as it should have been, has dropped from its normal position well behind Canada into the abyss of 136th in the world.

And Norbert is  making sure he never gets fired by doing his bit to get us and our children down there. kiss. kiss.

Allan Abel continues his remarkable record of saying nothing. He'll never get fired.

Letters to the editor carries an insightful comment "Why so critical of protesters?" by Mary Wannamaker of Hampton. This one is well worth the reading time.

It's even better (and more important) than a picture of Alward dangling in space.


  1. Love your blog. You would make a great columnist in the T&T!

    1990 BA - History
    Concordia University

  2. well, of course. Anybody with a BA from Concordia is, by definition, wise and insightful.