Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30: a bad summer for local farmers......

...could be happening says the last page of A section in today's Moncton Times and Transcript. Yep. Could be.

Luckily, it has nothing to do with climate change.  We know that because big "think-tanks" like Heartland (financed by very big corporations) tell us there is no such thing as climate change happening. Scientists have it figured all wrong.

So don't bother checking out the story in today's Globe and Mail, the one that says these dry, hot summers may become the norm. Focussing on the western part of this continent, they say the drought of 2000 to 2004 was the worst in 800 years - and a sign of where we're going. They also say that as the soil dries up and plants die, far more carbon dioxide escapes into our atmosphere. holding in even more heat.

And The Globe mentions the rise in food costs - which will be a nuisance for us in the coming year, but death for millions around the world.

And the limited story that did make the TandT  made just the last page of A section, way below the day's most important story - that the Westmorland County Fair is a lot of fun.

If there were a warning of the nuclear attack, the TandT lead story would be that one of its advertisers has a sale on of umbrellas to guard against fallout.

With the exception of a story about the decline of rural communities, the whole of Section A is trivial. There is a third of a page of pictures about gardens without any giving a full view of a garden. In the biggest picture, the view was blocked by four people, all of whom were attractive, but none of whom resembled a flower.

There was almost a full page of a sandpiper festival of artists and people which told us nothing. One picture, a large one, was of three people sitting at a table on somebody's lawn. Wow! A keeper. What insight!

NewsToday carries the story of another, expensive foulup at the Olympics. Thousands of seats at the events are going empty. That comes after buyers weeks ago were lining up for eight hours and more - only to be told that all  seats were sold out.

That story has a connection with the other massive fiasco of security. Both hugely expensive and embarassing incidents were caused by the incompetence of the big businesses that were contracted to do them. How's that for the efficiency of the corporate world, Norbert? And it's government - in the form of the army, the police and thousands of civil servants who have had to clean up the mess.

The Syrian government has won back Damascus. We were already in a mess no matter who won that battle. Now, we're in a far worse and more dangerous one. With Iraq still in turmoil (though most of it  unreported), Afghanistan a hugely expensive lost cause, with drones invading countries to kill at random without bothering to declare war, and now with the whole middle east collapsing into instability (to put it gently), this has not been a golden age for American foreign policy.

There's a very positive headline on the business page. "Enbridge to fix leaky pipeline".  You know Enbridge. It's a New Brunswick fixture for shale gas. Nice to see a positive headline. And most readers read just the headline. So that's good. Very good for Enbridge and shale gas because it hides a nasty story.

If you read the story, you'll find that Enbridge has a long history of accidents and pollution and environmental damage and general incompetence that has been compared to the Keystone Kops. But the story puts the best possible face even on that. "The spill on Friday is the latest in a series of incidents that threaten to damage the reputation....."

Right. Just like the Colorado massacre threatens to damage the repution of James Holmes, the shooter.

It's an interesting example of how journalists can slant a story.

Allen Abel's commentary on the op ed is a must read if you really, really care that in 1962 he saw a baseball game in Washington for only 75 cents. I have never understood why this column would appear in any paper - even in Washington.

Craig Babstock, the staff writer, writes on a topic of which he obviously has not the faintest understanding. It's about crime statistics; and he clearly has no understanding of statistics of any sort. So he takes figures that have almost no meaning, and desperately looks for a hidden truth in them. He should apply for a job at Atlantic Insitute of Market Studies. They specialize in that sort of nonsense.

Good column by Alec Bruce though I'll venture to offer a small correction. The premier is not the first citizen of New Brunswick. That honour goes to the Lieutenant-Governor of the province. A premier is just another MLA.

Norbert Cunningham has an excellent column on what a rip-off the Olympic games are. The International Oympic Committee is, as he says, a private corporation of the super-rich, who run it at public expense for their profit.  Some day, when life is slower, I must do a blog on how that came to be. There's quite a story of class arrogance and class power behind it.

But, meanwhile, I would ask Norbert to read his own, excellent column carefully. The IOC is a private corporation which makes its money out of the taxpayers while the civil servants do the work to cover up for the incompetence and greed of private corporations .

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