Schlock is yiddish, roughly meaning trashy, worthless. Sleaze is, well, you know, like Health Minister Flemming. The front page of today's paper is a collector's item for both.
Brent Mazerolle, the master of saying nothing, does so for a full page schlock on "Building supplies help drive the economy". Well, yeah.
Magazine shops help drive the economy. Grocery stores help drive the economy. Drunken speeders help drive the economy but providing employment for police and fines for the city. School lunch money helps drive the economy. Schlock.
Then there's the sleaze. At the bottom of the page, health minister Flemming says "Concerns not shared in Chaleur...". Oh, well, if Chaleur doctors aren't concerned, then that proves the Dupont doctors are idiots. He language is loaded with personal slurs aimed at the Moncton doctors.
The Chaleur doctors, he notes, were cooperative and constructive and gave him a great welcome, and they all had a nice meetings - unlike you-know-who.
Mr. Flemming's home of choice appears to be the gutter from he launches ad hominem attacks and slurs which avoid any mention of the real issues. That would not seem to make him suitable for the job of cabinet minister or, indeed, any job. Mr. Alward should have a talk with him about this. You know, while they're both down there, anyway....
The story is repeated (really) as a story on P. 2, except that on p. 2, Flemming sinks a little lower into the gutter - as low as his belly will allow. He refers to the doctors at the Dumont as a "minority" or a 'certain number' who are disgruntled. But he says of Chaleur, "there was no sign of that attitude here...nor even a smell of it."
Delicately put. Of course he couldn't smell it. We have Pepe le Pieu for a health minister.
The big headline is that we're going to get a hell of a snowstorm. Wow! I guess nobody knew that - I mean nobody who didn't have a radio - or TV - or who has been locked away in an isolation ward for the past week.
Newspapers really should adjust to the new world of communication that's been developing over the past century.
The only other section A news of signficance is that gas prices took a huge jump. There's a warning in that. The prices could - and will - take a lot more huge jumps. World demand is rising - and that sends prices up. And don't kid yourself that oil sands or American reserves will save us. Gas companies sell for what they can get. Gas companies should never be confused with Santa Claus. Wars om Africa and the middle east can, and will, send prices soaring.
That has consequences for a city like Moncton that was designed for the horse and buggy age. This a city which, in its present form, can never have efficient mass transit because of its sprawling layout. Nor should it be relying on a fuel that is soon going to be prohibitively expensive. Nor should it be building a new high school in a remote suburb, or a civic centre which will rely on a huge parking lot and on cheap transport to get to Moncton in the first place.
But I suppose this is all covered in the city plan. Is it? Does the city have a plan based on a realistic assessment of what our future problems will be? Can we see that assessment of future problems? Can we see the plan?
Big thrill. Irving is going to hire 6, 500 new people. Thrill-Killer - many of will simply be replacing existing staff who are retiring. Another 600 will be in Nova Scotia. Bottom line - there is almost no sense of what this will mean to New Brunswick.
French forces are withdrawing from Timbuktu. Does that help you to understand the war in Mali? Well, almost no news story every does give us any clear idea of what's going on or why - something else that newspapers should be thinking about.
The editorial fumes at a problem that has developed because of the recent slowing with which government gets out notices of fuel increases to us.What it's all about is not clear to this reader or, apparently, to the editor. This is just one of those "something must be done" editorials.
Some how come the editor jumps all over this matter - but doesn't mention the loutish behaviour of the health minister?
Norbert confines himself to three topics for today's column. One, the first one, is good stuff. He does nothing whatever with the other two. Norbert, there's a reason why most columnists write on only one topic per day.
Alec Bruce spars with a column on the op ed page written by Peter Halpin of the Association of Atlantic Universities. The debate follows an earlier column by Bruce in which he was critical of the way university administrators copy big business in giving themselves absurdly high pay.
It's hard for the reader to follow the argument because it necessarily means one has to understand all the administrative jobs and what, if anything, they mean. However, I can offer my experience.
About 15 years ago, lawyers representing the businessmen on the board of governors at my university asked me to stand for the job of president. (They had just fired one.) I was assured I could expect to be the chosen one. The terms were good - interest free mortgage, very high salary, great settlement if I should retire (or get fired), lots of expense allowances.... Then they gave me a book written for business executives on what kinds of goodies they could get - hinting that I could ask for similar terms.
The book was an eye-opener. If I got fired on the second day of the job, I would still be set for life at a higher salary than I was getting as a professor. It was tempting.
But I knew the president was really a figurehead whose main job was to kiss up to corporate bosses on the board of governors, and I knew that kissing up involved making the university into their servant. I also knew the universities could not be changed because of 1. the five-centuries-old snobberies of the professors and their almost total ignorance of teaching and 2.the universities depended so heavily on the MacLean's ratings to get students that they allowed magazine eidtors to dictate what a good university was.
With a sigh, I declined. I knew I would foul up any job I so disliked. I loved teaching. Still do. But there really was no place for me in that fraud called university governance.
I'm on Alec Bruce's side. Only more so.
Another good job by Steve Malloy. He writes well. He writes about what he knows Like some others, he draws from his own experiences - but he contributes some thinking about those experiences. I'm not sure I would entirely agree with his conclusions - but this column is a good starting point for discussion.
Good letters are "Simmering anger coming to boil", and "Writer requires clarification".
over the past century or so.