Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27: Planning for yesterday...

The lead story is that "Roundabouts remain controversial". Well, yeah, when you build something you needed twenty years ago, and it is now already obsolete as well as overpriced,  and you call that planning for the future, well, yeah, I would guess that's controversial.

Add to that the fact that no city on earth has ever solved its traffic problems by improving its road system. If you doubt it, go for a spin in Los Angeles or Hong Kong or London. Building better roads simply encourages people to use more cars more often.

Planning for the future demands something more than reviving an old idea that doesn't work. And, at its cost of several million (almost certain to grow), it's a hell of a lot more expensive than paying bus drivers and mechanices a decent wage. And it would leave money to hire somebody who knows who to design bus routes and schedules. I found it easier to figure out public transport in Shanghai than I do in Moncton.

Finally, despite its very long story, the Moncton Times and Tribune has still not asked the essential "why" question. If the mayor and certain councillors did not approve of the proposal for the roundabout, why did they vote for it?  Hey! It's okay. A newspaper is supposed to ask questions.

Oh - and city council's planning committee is now asking citizens to make suggestions for city planning. That's like a brain surgeon asking your advice on how he or she should perform surgery on you.

Anyway, once you've read that story and the one about cats at the SPCA, you've pretty well hit the high spots for section A.

There is still nothing on the promised avalanche of information on shale gas - though there is an excellent letter to the editor on the subject. This one is a must read - and it's only a hint of the truth that's out there.

NewsToday has something on Congo. That country has suffered horribly for well over a century at the hands of countries like Belgium, Britain, the US, Canada (a major "player"), with millions killed, millions tortured, starved to death, lashed as they worked as slaves, deprived of basic services and education, paid starvation wages, their land mined into a toxic brew.... And at last the TandT covers it -with a picture - of people -looking at a tank. That's it.

Compare that to the detail we get every day on Syria. Compare Hilary Clinton's foaming at the mouth over Syria and Iran to her dead silence on a far, far more horrible situation in Congo - a situation that Belgians and British and American and Canadians have been inflicting for over a century.

And when I mention Canadians, I don't mean you. The billionaires who have slaughtered and poisoned in Congo are not the sort of people who are likely to bring the money home to ease your tax burden.

Oh, notice the headline at the bottom of that page. "Syrian forces pound Aleppo and Damascus". It's quite true. They are pounding those cities. Now compare with this possible headline, also true, "Rebel forces invade Aleppo and Damascus". The stories are equally true. But one gives the automatic and unthinking impression that the aggressors are the government forces. The other gives the impression that aggressors are the rebels.

You change the message just by fiddling with the headline a little bit. Bad newspapers do it all the time.

Not until the last line do they mention the possibility that the 'rebels' are funded and supplied with weapons, mercenaries and training (and special ops) from Saudi Arabia, the emirates, UK, and US. In fact, this is well-documented. But the report doesn't say that. Instead, it quote this as a statement from the Russian government which, of course, immediately discredits the whole idea.

That's how newspapers lie without actually lying. Not actually.
Anyway, that comes at the end of the story; and hardly anybody reads that far.

The business page has not mentioned of the crisis that has struck the largest bank in Japan - and one of the largest in the world - as a result of illegal and irresponsible behaviour. This one is another heavy blow to banking all over the world. And we will all feel the echoes of this one. Yes, even here in Moncton.

The only outstanding feature of NewsToday is two pages of people with smiling faces holding up giant cheques. A treasure forever.....

deAdder seems to be getting better by the day.

And there's a hilarious line in the editorial that's a keeper. The editorial advocates a cross-country oil pipeline. It admits there ae dangers in such an idea, but --(and I dare you to keep a straight face)...

"...the premier (Alward) has demonstrated his sincere concern for environmental issues plainly enough after calling for the strictest possible controls available for our own, current, controversial hydrocarbon issue, shale gas development."

He's calling for it? For Pete's sake, why is he calling? He's the premier. He can do it. But he hasn't. And you and I know he won't - just as we all know that no editor of the TandT would dare to print the truth on this issue. (It would offend you-know-who.)

Norbert has a light, but amusing, column on misused words. I would urge him to look to the story on roundabouts which is continued on p. A2. Five paragraphs up, on he left-hand side, he will find the word "gotten". Now check the Oxford English Dictionary. That is an improper use of the word. (However, it is permissible in American usage which also accepts such excrescences as "nite" for "night". (and probably even for "knight".)

Alec Bruce is solid, as is Lynda MacGibbon. David Suzuki has a column a bit different from the usual one - and it's a very intriguing one. Cut this one out and send it to Moncton's city planners.

One nice thing is about Suzuki's proposal is, it will solve problems while being cheaper than a multi-million dollar roundabout that will cause problems. (How can those city planning people be so out-to-lunch on mass transportation, and so committeed to designing a city for 1950?)

Still no word from City Hall or Ward 2 Councillors Henderson and Leger on my request about the pollution under Highfield Square. Of course, I know they're awfully busy listening to people.

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