Thursday, March 21, 2013

March 21: Bo-ring...

Page A1 has a story headed "CFL, other events are economic catalysts". Now, a head, as it's called in the trade, is supposed to tell what the story is about. There is only one, possible meaning to this head, that it is a proven fact that such events stimulate the economy.

But that is NOT what the story is about.

The story  is about a businessman who gave an opinion, not a fact, that such events were stimuli. For comparison, what if I were to say (as I often do) that I am the idol of millions? Would that justify a TandT headline saying "Decarie is idol of millions"?

(The businessman, by the way, has a financial stake in such events.)

Disguised as a news story, what we really have here is a piece of propaganda for a cause the TandT has consistently supported.

We will be getting the same runaround when we have our "public consultation" on the events centre. I note we are to hear a presentation by a city that has a profitable events centre. But I note there is no such provision for representation by a city whose events centres have been financial disasters - though there are plenty of them.
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A1 also has a remarkably uninformative story "Export stategy targets jobs: Alward". It has the "feel good" words - strategy and jobs. But at the end of a long story, we still don't know exactly what the strategy is, or exactly how it will create jobs.

It reads very much as though this is giving more tax money the likes of the Irvings and McCains. But we've tried that. Been there. Done that. Seen the movie. Read the book. Bought the T-shirt. This isn't a strategy. It's just a continuation of the old New Brunswick game of selling out the people of New Brunswick for the benefit of those few who actually run it.

Alward says he doesn't yet know how much this will cost the taxpayers. I'll bet he doesn't. And neither he nor the Irvings nor the McCains give a damn. (They don't have to worry about taxes.)____________________________________________________________________

The only story worth reading in secton A is on A6, "Little house has many uses". It's quite fascinating, and has features that could prove useful in providing a form of housing for the future. It does not seem to be adapted in its present form for urban use. But Moncton, with its high proportion of decrepit housing, might be able to use some of the ideas in this "little house".
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C10, " Crime decreases but costs rise" is worth reading because it is the last report by the Parliamentary Budget committee you are ever likely to see. The committee has provided independent reporting on government spending, showing enourmous waste and misjudgement.But Harper, who is as paranoid and secretive as any comic-book dictator, doesn't like the voters to know that sort of thing. He has allowed government departments to withhold essential information from the committee. And now the committee will not have the power to examine the coming budget at all. In fact, it will probably never again be able to investigate anything.

There's nothing else worth reading in section C. But one story worth reading is above the average.
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There is a bizarre editorial arguing that we should not be allowed to know major details of spending on events like the CFL game or a concert. The reason given is that cities in competition for such events would then know how much Moncton was spending to get them.

Does the editor seriously think that they don't know that already? The only people who don't know are us. Obviously the editorial writer would like to keep it that way. I wonder why.
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Excellent column by Alec Bruce; and a very readable and useful one by Norbert Cunningham - though the latter destroyed some of my fondest dreams.

Rod Allen, for the first time in my experience, actually says something. It's wordy. It's use of language is pretentious. But it's worth a read.

Jody Dallaire, as always, is worth a read. When reading this one, it's worth clearing our minds of the myth of how progressive we are compared to, say, Moslem countries. In fact, we are historically similar in our attitudes to women. Bible readers can check out the epistles of Paul for confirmation.

In Canada, there was virtually no paid employment for women but doing laundry, scrubbing floors, and working as unskilled labour in a very few factories. The first employment for women with higher ambitions was presented with the advent of public schools in the 1840s and 50s. Women could be teachers - largely because they were cheaper than men. However, few were ever permitted to teach high school classes or to become administrators. Those jobs were reserved for men, who were considered to be more intellectual than women. (When I began teaching, I was paid more than a woman with the same qualifications I had.  I was never able to discover why.)

The next big break came with the invention of the typewriter. Until then, secretaries  had been men. But by the early 1920s, women were permitted to enter offices - because they were cheaper.

At the same time, women were permitted to vote - but were generally forbidden to discuss politics. Politics was man talk. And, under Canadian law, a man still had the right to beat his wife in order to discipline her.

There's still a long way to go. So let's not kid ourselves that we are models of civilized behaviour.
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I didn't notice any report of a study showing that the NB government has been giving consulting contracts to buddies at high fees for work that could be been done by civil servants.

And, speaking of contracts to buddies, I have seen little about why Jamie Irving landed two and a half million dollars to improve reading skills. I  have seen no evidence he knows anything about teaching anything. And I do know there are people in the education who actually do know something about teachng.
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Finally, the UN has proclaimed that the (rumoured) use of chemical weapons is outrageous. Quite so. But before we blame people of a lesser breed for doing such things, it is worth remembering who invented chemical weapons. It was us in the West.

Churchill was enthusiastic about them. When he was colonial secretary, about 1920, he used bombs to drop poison chemicals on Kurds in what is now Iraq. He thought it was the best way to deal with the more primitive people of this world.

The US supplied them to Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. It used them again in Iraq. That's why babies are still being born dead, or with only one eye (or no eyes), with missing limbs, with fatal diseases, and with grotesque bodies.

Of course, the TandT has never reported any of that.
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