I used to think the only newspaper I have ever seen that is more vapid than The Moncton Times and Transcipt is another local effort called Snap or Snapshot. It is page after page of photos of groups of strangers smiling at the camera. Reading it is like finally getting a girl alone in her living room, then having her parents come in with a stack of family photo albums for the evening's entertainment.
TandT wall to wall coverage of high school graduation is like that. Enough, already. We could have used a few page for the long-promised information on shale gas.
The obviously oustanding story in local news, a story that should have been page one, is the court challenge of the decision to build a new high school at Royal Oaks. But it's a single column - on p. 3.
The lead story on p. 1 concerns the decision to cancel a "relocation of staff" day for the schools. Few readers will be interested enough to go past the headline - nor is there any indication in the story of why (or whether) they should be interested.
The only other story worth reading in Section A is the one about a man who is charged with swiping some steel beams. I mean, this isn't like shoplifting some scotch tape or a pair of gloves. How do you slip out with a bunch of steel beams in your pocket? And to sell them - do you sneak up to a guy at the corner, and whisper, "Hey? Wanna buy some hot steel beams?"
This has movie possibilities.
Desperate for something to read, I went from Section A to Letters to the Editor.
There is an unintentionally hilarious one "Capt. Alward will right the ship"; a well-deserved slap labelled "Bailing out the blurting boomers"; several good ones covering items the Tand T has missed in its reporting; and a very annoying one "Israel has good relief record". It accuses people who criticize the Israeli government of being anti-semitic. Then it goes on to ignore most of what the Israeli government has done to draw criticism. It also shows a crashing lack of logic.
1. If I criticize Harper, am I an anti-Canadian? If I refuse to vote for Alward in the next election, am I anti-New Brunswicker? How does criticizing the Israeli government make me anti-semitic?
2. The majority of Jewish Israelis are not semites, not by descent and not by language and not by culture. They are Ashkenazis, descended from converts to Judaism in Germany and Eastern Europe.
3. Arabs are semitic. Most notably, Palestinians are semitic. If anything, then, it is Israelis who are anti-semitic.
4.What annoys me about these accusations is that I lived most of my life in Jewish social circles. I have close friends who are Jews, observant Jews who support Zionism, and some of whom now live in Israel. But they are critical of the racism that has developed in Israel, and they are critical of the Israeli government for its treatment of Palestinians. So they are glibly and publicly denounced as "anti-semites".
5. I'm glad to hear that Israel has helped out in natural disasters. I'm not entirely sure that makes it okay for the Israeli government to blockade Palestine, annex Palestinian land, evict Palestinians from their homes and property, blockade Palestine so it loses access to medical supplies and fuel, and cannot import materials to rebuild after the Israeli attack that destoyed so many buildings and killed so many civilians.
6. Enough of these glib and self-righteous pronouncements.
Most of NewsToday is the usual dead loss. You can get far more by going to Google, and checking 'News'.
The one story worth reading is about Omar Khadr. He may have killed an American soldier during at American attack in Afghanistan.The US illegally held him prisoner for years at Guantanamo, and almost certainly tortured him. (International law forbids treating child soldiers like adults. Of course, it also forbids torture; but who gives a damn)' Canada is the only country in the world to allow one of its citizens to be held in that way.Australia and Britain both demanded and received immediate return of their citizens. Khadr was then tried before a military court (also forbidden under international law) - which means a very unfair trial, indeed, one that accepted testimony obtained by torture..
At last, it was the US that had to ask Canada to take up its obligation to intervene on behalf of its own citizen.
And Canada still won't do it.
The editorial and op ed pages are, perhaps, the two best pages I have ever seen in the The Moncton Times and Transcript.
The editorial is lightweight, but not obnoxious. The editorial cartoon is - well - the usual. It's a circle of some thirty patients surrounding just one hospital bed. A more subtle cartoonist might have sketched the American private medecine situation with millions of people in a vast circle with no hospital bed at all within reach. Figures for last year show that close to 4,000 Californians died because they didn't have medical insurance.
But the rest is pretty good. And that includes Norbert.