Monday, December 16, 2013

Dec. 16: It starts on p. 1....

..where a story (which is otherwise a good one) carries the headline "Bird counts tally species" which means, roughly, bird counts count birds. (Note that headlines are NOT written by the reporter, but by the page editor - who has the wisdom to keep his name a secret.)

That's it for section A. There's virtually nothing else there for most readers except,possibly, those who didn't notice we had storm yesterday.
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Banner headline in NewsToday, "Colorado Governor visits school shooting victim".That's a sad story. But it has little to do in any way with New Brunswickers. Two lesser stories on the same page are more relevant.

1. Canadian police are looking at the possibility of saving money by ticketing offences like public nudity, falsifying an employment record. living off prostitution, or vagrancy. (How on earth would a vagrant pay a ticket? And even if the vagrant could,  how does this solve the problem of vagrancy or do anything to  help anybody?)

Additionally, there is the sticky problem that issuing a ticket means finding a person guilty of a crime - without any hearing or verdict. It also means there is no attempt to provide rehabilitation for a person who might need it badly.

But that's the Harper solution to crime, get tough on it because there's lots of moron votes in that; do nothing to rehabilitate; and save money to keep the taxes of the rich down.

2. "Bachelet wins back Chile's presidency".  This is an important story to New Brunswickers because Chilean dictatorships were an anchor of US imperial power in Latin America. But here is a choice of leader by democracy. And, worse, it's pledged to raise taxes on rhe very rich.

It may not sound important. But this is another sign of the fall of the American empire. And even in New Brunswick, even to Murray Corner and Berry Mills, we are closely tied to the American empire.

The only other news item was the funeral of Mandella, the last stage of a bizarre series of stories on the death of a man who was intensely disliked by western leaders for most of his life, and who was on the terrorist lists of both Canada and the US until just five years ago.

I could have lived without the back page of NewsToday with its headline "Prince Charles, Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson attend memorial". This is a story about the death of Mandella, a man who played an important and self-sacrficing role in the world. It is not a column of social notes.
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The editorial reflects concern that policing costs us too much. And, yes, if we're going to spend money on billionaires and at the same time keep their taxes down, then we have to cut the police. We could have saved a lot with a less overwhelming police presence at Rexton. But that would have meant cutting police service for the very, very rich.  And we can't to do that.

It's surely time  in Canada (and long past it in the US) for more intelligent and less self-righteous thinking about how to deal with crime.

Both Alec Bruce and Norbert Cunningham jump all over Canada Post for its decision to cut home delivery; and both accuse it of bad management and decision making for unspecified decades. Curiously, Norbert admits postal services are a problem all over the world thougt most countries, surely, do not have post offices run by Canada Post. So how can it all be the fault of Canada Post?

Since the beginning of postage back in Victorian days, costs have risen. So, to the best of my knowledge, have the costs of everything else. As well, Canada post has to compete with computers, something that was not a problem when Victoria was queen.

The world is changing. Canada Post may be responsible for many sins, but a changing world is not one of them. I have yes to see evidence of it's responsibility for it's decline.

Craig Babstock writes "Police hoping for a Christmas holiday free of fatal crashes." Wow! That's a shocker. Who would have guessed it?

Steve Malloy comes closest to reality in seeing the shrinking of Canada Post not as an occasion for blaming, but for sadness at the passing of one more institution that was ours.

Again, though, we have a headline problem - not Steve's fault - this, again, is an editor's doing. The head reads "Losing home delivery is like losing a link to the past".  This is like the blooper, "Bird count is counting birds" on p. 1.  In the case of Malloy's column, scratch the word "like". Otherwise, the headline suggests that losing your head would be like losing a part of your body.

There's another blooper headline for a letter to the editor. "Faulty parameters in climate theory?"

Parameters must be the least understood word in the English language. I have no idea what the editor had in mind by writing it - but whatever it was has nothing to do with anything in the letter. Parameter is not a variant of perimeter. It does not mean a factor of some sort. In fact, even though I know the definition of the word parameter, I still have no understanding of what a parameter is.

The letter is on the weak side, too, though it comes from a writer who describes himself as a scientist.

Look. The climate debate is over. It existed in the first place only because oil billionaires waged a huge campaign to convince people there was no climate change - so the oil industry would have time to make lots more money before it changed enough to be really obvious..

The debate is over. Much of the ice cap has melted.  Ocean levels have risen. Effects on crops and wildlife have happened. The vast majority of world scientists  (with the exception of one in Fredericton of whom we know nothing) agree that climate is changing.

Even if we aren't a hundred percent sure at this point, only an irresponsible ideologue like Stephen Harper would be ignoring the warnings. Only greedy oil executives would persist in risking disaster for billions of people.

Can we now start thinking about plans that make sense? It's stunning that we have so many who blame the post office for changes it had no control over, but who also praise the oil companies who are risking infinitely greater damage.
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Today's is one hell of a boring, irrelevant, amateurish and drab edition, even by the anemic standards of Irving press.

If they had two stories - one that there were tickets on sale for a rock concert on Tuesday night, and the other that the world would end at noon on Tuesday, their front page headline would be "Tickets for concert still available until noon on Tuesday".

They might even slip 'parameters' in there.

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