Saturday, November 2, 2013

Nov. 2: It's a wonderful, wacky world..

Check out p. 1, "New Store prepares for World's End. It's a survival store - and I can see it all now. It's not only possible but probable that there will soon be drastic food shortages around the world, and dramatically reduced crop yields even in our favoured land. So now we have a store dedicated to supplying us with survival equipment. Yes, as climate goes wild, you can survive by hunting and....and......, well, anyway that's how we'll deal with the problems of all those hundreds of thousands of you and millions of Canadians and hundreds of millions of Americans.

It'll be fun. And I'm sure that all Canadians will cooperate and help each other in the context of the collapse of government and the difficulties of hunting for a livng in downtown Toronto - or even Moncton.

Nor is faith neglected.

The owner of the store also owns The Faithful Servant book store, with literature for the soul to guide you through those trying days to come.  But......

Wouldn't it be cheaper and more practical to stop all that from happening in the first place?

If you think this store is wacky, what do you think of Harper destroying almost all environmental protection rules in Canada, cutting off funds for climate change research, enouraging use of the fossil fuels that are causing climate change, and refusing to meet our promised renewable energy objectives?

Better stock up on those religious books. They might be all you have to eat.

P. A6 has an important story, "Union protests cuts to hospital laundry". The union claims that privatizing the hospital laundry services will not save money. The union is almost certainly right.

Even if the centralization saves money, the saving is something that could as well have been done by government, rather than by offering it to private business which must, in addition  to regular costs, provide a profit - and very, very high bonuses for senior executives. Remember the recent ice breaker contract in which we got zinged with massive overcharges - and Nova Scotia got zinged for a couple of hundred million in taxpayers' money as a gift to Mr. Irving for being so kind as to build the ships in Nova Scotia? Were they afraid he was going to build them in Alberta?

Two things are going on here. One is the regular moves of private business to muscle in on government work, almost invariably at higher cost.

The other is the gradual privatization of health care so we can have a wonderful system like the US -Where the poor die much sooner than the rich - thus saving a lot of government pension money.


Then, on p. A 11, we have an ad for Alward, disguised as a news story. "Leaner civil service saves millions." This is all about how Alward has saved 11 million dollars by adopting a business model for the civil service.

But the reporter never bothered to check the shortcomings of this new system called Lean Six. He just wrote down whatever Alward babbled.

To begin, it's typical of many schemes of the big business world in that much of it is pretentious gobbeldygook. Then there's the problem that it doesn't encourage innovation. In fact, it gets in the way of innovation. And it relies heavily on statistics, something that's always dangerous because statistics can be twisted to say almost anything you want them to. And the list goes on.

Lean Six is the flavour of the month  right now in big business. It's very heavily advertised in google. But it's actually been in decline for some years now. However, it's still big news for mr. Irving, so Alward is all for it.

Has he saved 11 million dollars by it? That's another question the reporter might have raised. You see, how much is raised (or lost) depends on how you're doing you're accounting - and that's a messy a field as statistics.

Hint to reporters - read Harvard Business Review before you interview Alward on a story like this.

Your Business page continues to baffle me. Today's big story is on how Mount Allison is again rated by MacLean's as Canada's top undergrad university.

First, the MacLean's rankings are a crock. In training background,  in teaching, in methods there is no significant difference between any two universities in Canada. This whole thing is a scam to sell magazines. But it has sucked the universities into it because of their desperation for students - and so we have magazine editors now telling universities how to teach.

All the universities are backwards in their teaching. All have the same lack of understanding and of respect for teaching. All still teach asa they taught two hundred years ago - and even a thousand years aago..

As an example of the silliness of the MacLean's ratings, (and no, this is not bragging), I was several times ranked on the five most popular professors at Concordia. Sounds nice. But how the hell do you measure popularity among twenty thousand students? There certainly was no vote. And even if there were, what does popularity have to do with quality of teaching? And if it did, how would students be able to judge teaching qualirty? Most of them have never taught. They don't know any more than MacLean's editors (or their professors) what good teaching is.

You want to know what good teaching is? Ask any teacher who handles grades K to 3. There are the real pros who know what they're doing. The last person you should ask if a magazine editor or a professor.

And, anyway, why is this on a business page?

Bad news on B4. The "Syrian" rebels  - most of whom are not Syrians at all but foreign Muslims from groups like Al Quaeda, armed, paid, and trained by Saudi Arabia, the US and a few others, are refusing to attend peace talks with the UN. Saudi Arabia is not helping. It wants Syria destroyed because its Moslems are too moderate. Al Quaeda doesn't want peace talks because it intends to set up an extreme Moslem state in the part of Syria it now controls. Israel doesn't want peace because it wants Syria destroyed. The US Republicans don't want peace because they want to satisfy Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The same people want Iran destroyed, too,  for much the same reasons.

Obama is just about alone on this one. And if the UN cancels the peace meetings because of the "rebel" objections, then Obama is really out of the game.

That will mean a war -and how terrible and how widespread a war, none of us can even guess.

The editorial is a wine ad.

Norbert writes about raising chickens, manages to accuse 'activists" of talking without knowing what they're talking about. then admits he doesn't know any answers. So why did he write the column. Then he has a "The Last Word" which as usual, is a quotation that has nothing to do with the article.

Bill Belliveau has a well-written and reasonable article on the Senate. Itthink he's right is demanding due process of law before taking any decisions on Duffy and friends - and wrong in suggesting an elected senate. But it's a good column.

Brent Mazerolle is, as usual, irrelevant.

Gwynne Dyer has a perversely amusing column about Georgia (the place formerly under Russian rule, not the Georgia Peach state.) Read it - and see if you can find any similarities to New Brunswick.

There is a section called Focus on Education. It appears to be mostly useless information and sentimental blather. It's really an advertising feature - and it's a waste of time.

Then there are the two, faith pages (sigh).

I note the one that carries ads for church services is down to seven churches. That suggests to me the churches must have to pay for these ads. Wow! The blessed saints of the Irving press offer a free ad for a store disgused as a news story on the front page. But churches have to pay.

I usually criticize the church events as focussing more on bellies than on brains. But I note that the Christ in Action Church is holding a three day seminar "The Lord will give you victory over your suffering."

Alas, I shall be busy those three days  (whenever they are).

I have to feed the ducks.

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